Biden Administration increases temporary work visas and several will be for Central Americans


Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the measure will not affect American workers.

Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Under various conditions for employers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) added 22,000 temporary non-farm work visas.

The H-2B visa, a non-immigrant permit, is for employment mainly in the service area and used during vacation seasons, so its granting is divided into two parts annually.

Highlights that 6,000 of these permits will be destined exclusively for natives of the so-called Northern Triangle, that is, from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, as part of the president’s government plan Joe biden to address the causes of migration from those countries, in accordance with Executive Order 14010.

“Creation of a comprehensive regional framework to address causes of migration, manage migration in North and Central America and provide safe and orderly processing of asylum seekers at the border of the United States ”, justifies the DHS.

Although this is a major change, DHS, in charge of Alejandro MayorkasHe pointed out that companies that request foreign employers must demonstrate that they do not affect local workers and that their requirement is essential to avoid damage to their businesses.

“Employers seeking H-2B workers must… certify in their petitions that there are not enough capable, willing, qualified, and available US workers to perform the temporary work.”warns the agency.

It is also required that the hiring of these individuals will not affect “will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of US workers” who perform similar work.

“The supplemental increase will require companies seeking H-2B workers to participate in additional recruiting efforts for US workers.”, indicates the Government.

These permits allow a worker to stay up to one year in the US, but with a maximum extension of three years.

The DHS argues that there are companies that face problems hiring employees, due to the pandemic of COVID-19, but they can now expand operations.

“In light of increased labor demands, DHS is announcing a supplemental increase of 22,000 visas for the H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program.”, he pointed. “The additional visas will be available in the coming months through a temporary final rule in the Federal Register.”

Secretary Mayorkas defended the measure and assured that the US labor market and people’s incomes will be protected.

“This supplemental increase also demonstrates DHS’s commitment to expanding legal avenues of opportunity in the United States to the people of the Northern Triangle.”Mayorkas said.

This increase in visas is temporary, that is, the same measure will not be applied in subsequent fiscal years, since Congress has established a limit of 66,000 H-2B permits, divided into two parts annually.

The second half of the fiscal year began on April 1 and ends on September 30. The decision was made based on section 105 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which authorizes the head of DHS, after consulting with the Secretary of Labor.

“(This) after the determination that the needs of American companies cannot be met by American workers who are willing, qualified and capable of temporary non-agricultural labor,” it was explained.

It was also reported that on February 12, 2021, the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received enough petitions to meet the H-2B limit imposed by Congress.