Feds To Allow More H-2B Visas

WASHINGTON – The federal government will issue more H-2B visas, but has implemented a new requirement for businesses looking for seasonal help.

The Department of Homeland Security says employers must meet a new “irreparable harm” standard in order to receive assistance. The exact text of the new policy was set to be released late Monday.

Many Cape Cod businesses rely on H-2B workers for summer staffing.

In a statement, Congressman Bill Keating criticized the department for introducing the new hurdles for local businesses and said too many questions remain about the policy.

“Anyone who understands and supports small businesses should know that introducing new hurdles at the last minute is incredibly damaging,” said 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, [Monday’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.”

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