The U.S. is nearly doubling the number of seasonal worker H-2B visas it offers
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In the face of a tight labor market, the U.S. is nearly doubling the number of seasonal worker H-2B visas it offers. H-2Bs are temporary non-agriculture work visas for foreigners without advanced degrees, often used for seasonal work in landscaping, food processing and hospitality.
The worker visas are crucial in rural places where there’s not a big local workforce, according to Chip Rogers at the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
“There are a number of well-known resorts across the U.S. that simply wouldn’t be able to function, they would not even be able to be in business,” he said.
A working paper co-authored by Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development found businesses that hired workers on H-2Bs were able to grow and often create jobs for American workers.
“A greater number of these visas will expand the economy for sure,” Clemens said.
But industries that use the most H-2B visas have high incidences of wage theft and other labor violations, said Daniel Costa at the Economic Policy Institute
“There’s just really a lack of protections from retaliation when things go wrong on the job, which also includes not being able to change jobs,” said Costa.
A White House-created Worker Protection Taskforce has pledged tougher scrutiny of H-2B abuses.
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