On Friday, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce announced that the Homeland Security Department had endorsed an extra 30,000 H-2B visas for international seasonal workers. This new development is a relief to the Cape Cod businesses and other tourist zones which couldn’t find sufficient American workers to hire.
The number of H-2B visas allocated this season is more than what was allocated the past years, and this is surprising considering that the President further tightened ropes of immigration in the country by alarming to close the US-Mexico borders on Friday.
However, accessing foreign labor is a significant challenge for seasonal businesses which have struggled with a shortage of workers for years. Even at that, islands and cape employers complained that workers aren’t still enough.
Visa Allocation still insufficient
The already 33,000 issued visas for jobs which will begin on 1st April, in addition to the new visas announced, will be obtainable by the returning H-2B workers who have worked in the country for the past 3 years. However, mention is not made as to when applications should be sent in by employers.
The demand for the new visas is high in the US due to the tight Labour market and the unwillingness of Americans to do seasonal jobs.
The president of Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Wendy Northcross said that about 1000 additional workers are needed this year even though the business on the Islands and cape have about 2,500 applications for H-2B workers. As such, in as much as this additional visa is helpful, it is not enough for the local employers.
According to the Labour Department, when the process of certification for the initial 33,000 slots opened on midnight of 1st January, 97,800 workers requests were submitted within the first five minutes, and this intense volume crashed the system.
With this shortage of workers, there is no growth in seasonal business opportunities.
Every year, 33,000 visas are allocated for winter and summer periods. It was increased by 15,000 last year by the Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security secretary and 15,000 the year before.
This decision was made by the Homeland Security secretary this year after consultation with Alexander Acosta, the Labor secretary, while determining that no harm came to the American workers.
The agency further stated that those in the right position to call out the actual number of H-2B visas needed by the businesses in America without causing harm to the American workers is Congress.
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