Increase Will Help Address the Need for Seasonal Workers and Reduce Irregular Migration
WASHINGTON— Today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL), announced that it will be issuing a regulation that will make available to employers an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for fiscal year (FY) 2023, on top of the 66,000 H-2B visas that are normally available each fiscal year. By making these supplemental visas available at the outset of the fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2022, DHS is acting swiftly to address employers’ needs for additional seasonal workers. At the same time, DHS and DOL are working together to institute robust protections for U.S. and foreign workers alike, including by ensuring that employers first seek out and recruit American workers for the jobs to be filled, as the visa program requires, and that foreign workers hired are not exploited by unscrupulous employers. To strengthen these efforts, DHS and DOL also announced the creation of a new White House-convened Worker Protection Taskforce, as described below.
To address these issues more broadly, the departments announce the creation of the H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce (“Taskforce”). Convened by the White House, the Taskforce will focus on (1) threats to H-2B program integrity, (2) H-2B workers’ fundamental vulnerabilities, including their limited ability to leave abusive employment without jeopardizing their immigration status, and (3) the impermissible use of the program to avoid hiring U.S. workers. The departments will assess a variety of policy options to address these issues and will provide an opportunity for relevant stakeholders to offer input. The work of the Taskforce will build on ongoing efforts in both departments to reform the H-2 temporary visa programs. In the coming months, DHS also plans to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking relating to the H-2 programs, which will incorporate policies that strengthen protections for H-2 workers.