The United States DHS (Department of Homeland Security) announced on 17 July that an additional 15,000 seasonal visas, aka H-2B visas, would be provided to businesses which prove that they would be hamstrung without foreign workers.
Although businesses in the tourism industry, which were feeling the pinch, hailed the move, they felt that the number of visas being offered by the government was too few, as it would lead to bureaucratic hurdles that could delay the workers’ arrival until the fag end of the season.
Sarah Diment, an owner of a classy seaside resort in Ogunquit, Me., was quoted by The New York Times as saying that she needed help badly, but it would take her a long time to get ready all the requirements for the new visas. She was of the view that all these visas would be filled up in on time.
Ms. Diment, who had to shut down a section of her hotel earlier in the season because of the scarcity of workers, was said to have been relying on overtime of a limited number of employees. The government releases 66,000 H-2B visas every year, dividing them equally between the winter and summer seasons.
Before granting seasonal visas, businesses need to show that they have attempted to meet vacancies with native workers by advertising for them. They must also provide evidence that their businesses could be severely and permanently hurt economically if they are unable to hire foreign workers.
Dan Kowalski, an immigration lawyer in Colorado, felt that it was not adequate and was way too late. He said that attestation would be too intimidating for other employers.
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