The website of the US Department of Labor crashed owing to the huge volume of H-2B visa applications. This outlines a highly competitive market for these US Work Visas. Visa Agents and employers hurried to be the first to file Visa applications at midnight on the eve of New Year. This was for the second half of the Fiscal Year 2019 with the start date of April 1.
97, 800 H-2B visa applications were filed for workers for the 33,000 available visas in just first 5 minutes according to the DOL. The website of the Department was bogged down due to the huge volume of applications in a short time and it finally crashed. The number of H-2B visa applications received is 3 times the number of available Visas, as quoted by the Carnival Warehouse.
Workers on H-2B Visas are required to fill seasonal roles in diverse US industries. These include the Carnival and Fair industry, Amusement Parks, Disaster Relief, Fishing, Landscaping, and Hotels & Hospitality. The rate of unemployment on the US is extremely low at 3.7%. It is thus getting tougher for several businesses to fund local workers who are interested in seasonal jobs.
Firms in the Amusement and Carnival industry that do not receive the required workers may face a trickledown effect. This is on several fairs and not-for-profit organizations across the nation that relies on revenue generated by carnivals for funding their organization. This directly goes back to the local economy.
It is crucial that considerable relief for the H-2B cap is included in any form of a deal for ending the partial shutdown of the US Government. This could be in the form of Tillis/Harris language or the permanent Returning Worker Exemption.
The crashing of iCERT demonstrates that the cap issue must be addressed by the US Congress. This would have been avoided if the employers were aware of the availability of adequate Visas.
It is significant that the US Congress Members are individually aware of the crash and that the demand is thrice that of supply.
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