Washington, DC – Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that more H-2B visas will be issued.
Despite the significant delays by DHS in deciding to issue additional visas, the Department has now included a new and unfamiliar requirement as part of the application process. Employers must meet a new standard in order to receive visas that deals with the “irreparable harm” suffered by businesses if they are unable to bring on H-2B workers this season. Many questions still surround this “irreparable harm” standard, however, and the threshold businesses must meet in order to satisfy it.
“Anyone who understands and supports small businesses should know that introducing new hurdles at the last minute is incredibly damaging,” said Congressman Keating. “I am hopeful that the additional visas will bring some relief for our employers and I will continue to work with them to navigate this new process. However, today’s announcement fundamentally fails to address the underlying problem – there are not enough visas for employers who truly depend on this program each year. There needs to be a permanent solution to the uncertainty faced by our small and seasonal businesses, and that solution should focus on returning workers. I have advocated for prioritizing returning workers because that is best for meeting the needs of our employers and for addressing national security concerns. Our small and seasonal businesses have already suffered enough this year. 2017 should serve as a lesson for why we need to extend the returning worker exception moving forward.”
DHS has reported it will release the text of the rule later today for public inspection. When the rule is published later this week, employers will be able to apply for the available visas.