Jobs in America: Trump approves additional 15,000 seasonal worker visas for foreign employees

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Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he departs the White House in Washington to spend the weekend in Florida. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

US President Donald Trump has approved an additional 15,000 seasonal worker visas for foreign employees during the "Made in America" week. It would fill unskilled jobs offered by US companies to keep their businesses going as Americans do not want to take them.

Foreign employees can keep their jobs from four to 10 months. Workers can legally stay in the United States if they are employed when given the visa. Businesses can now apply for the visas. But they are required to place an ad for the jobs on two separate days.

Businesses' petitions are expected to be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Officials reportedly suggest that businesses pay a fee for faster processing within 15 days.

Additional H-2B workers

John Kelly, Department of Homeland Security secretary, said he discussed with Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta to determine if there are not enough qualified and willing US workers available to do temporary non-agricultural labour to meet the needs of US businesses in FY 2017. He obtained “discretional authority” from Congress to provide “temporary relief” to US companies that are going to be impacted without seasonal workers.

"We're talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm if they don't get additional H-2B workers," The Washington Post quotes one of Homeland Security officials as saying. Another official said Kelly is committed to protecting US workers.

Trump's administration said it would highlight US manufacturing. The POTUS has repeatedly said it is something he is going to bring back as it would assist with US businesses that continue to thrive.

The president’s own hotel and resorts properties may benefit from the additional 15,000 seasonal worker visas. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida employed 246 workers on the H-2B visa between 2013 and 2015.

According to a report by CNN, Trump obtained 1,024 H-2B visas for his businesses since 2000. These visas were for kitchen, waiters and housekeeping staff. He said he had to employ foreign workers for Mar-a-Lago because American workers were not available during busy tourist seasons in Florida. A 2015 Buzzfeed report stated several businesses opt to hire foreign guest workers to cut costs and limit legal liability.

Congress has paved the way to increasing the number of H-2B workers when it passed a budget to turn aside a government shutdown. DHS officials clarified the latest program was a one-time increase and that it fitted in with "Made in America" week.

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