H-2B visas: US to hike quota for foreign, unskilled workers by 400%

  • PTI, Washington
  • Updated: Dec 18, 2015 14:02 IST
H-2B visas will soar from 66,000 to 250,000 because of the language in the deal. (AP)

US lawmakers have decided to increase by nearly 400 percent the quota for H-2B visas meant for unskilled foreign workers, but will not affect Indians who do not opt for them.

The year-end spending deal unveiled on Wednesday includes a provision that would increase the number of guest worker visas available to unskilled foreign nationals.

“The more than 2,000 page year-end funding bill contains a dramatic change to federal immigration law that would increase by as much as four-fold the number of low-wage foreign workers provided to employers under the controversial H-2B visa programme, beyond what is currently allowed,” said Senator Jeff Sessions.

Sessions said the H-2B visas will soar from 66,000 to 250,000 because of the language in the deal.

These foreign workers are brought in exclusively to fill blue collar non-farm jobs in hotels, restaurants, construction, truck driving, and many other occupations sought by millions of Americans, he said.

Indians do not opt for H-2B visas, which is mostly given to foreign workers seeking jobs at hotels, theme parks, ski resorts, golf courses, landscaping businesses, restaurants and bars.

The H-2B visa was designed to bring in low-skilled, temporary and seasonal workers.

This provision would increase the job competition for some of America’s most vulnerable families during a time when jobs are still hard to find for lower skilled jobs, NumberUSA said.

Employers like to hire H-2B workers because their visa is tied to the company which prevents many from complaining or unionizing when mistreated, it said.

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