H-1B may be toxic in Washington, but not its sister visa program H-2B

The cap for H-2B is 66,000 per year

The omnibus spending bill that is currently before the Congress, and likely to be signed by President Trump, has a provision to increase the H-2B visas.

The program allows businesses to bring laborers from other countries for temporary non-agricultural jobs.

The cap for H-2B is 66,000 per year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1March 31); and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30).

According to the current norms, if the H-2B visa is not filled within the half of the financial year, the left-over visas will be carried forward to the next half. But, the H-2B visa numbers from one facial year don’t get carried forward to the next year.

The House Appropriations Committee on Sunday released a text that recommends a bill aimed at doubling the number of H-2B visas for FY 2017.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Secretary has recommended an increase in the number of visas, “by not more than the highest number of H-2B nonimmigrants who participated in the H-2B returning worker program in any fiscal year in which returning workers were exempt from such numerical limitation.”

The provision in the new bill will free up space for temporary workers returning to the U.S. from other countries, allowing the maximum amount previously allowed.

Once the bill gets passed in the congress, the current cap of 66,000 H-2B visas per year will be increased by another 70,000 visas in the current fiscal year.

Earlier in 2015, BuzzFeed did an investigative report throwing light on how H-2B visa program is exploited by employers to hire foreign workers – a similar contention exists against the H-1B program.

In 2015 alone, more than 175,000 people came to America on special H-2 visas, to perform low-wage, unskilled labor.

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