Citing a shortage of "qualified and willing" Americans to meet the high-season needs of businesses like landscape companies, amusement parks, and hotels, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it will increase the number of available H2B visas for non-farm temporary workers by 15,000 for fiscal year 2017.
Congress allowed the administration to increase the number of H-2B visas in a compromise spending bill passed in May and the new joint rule the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security have put forward will be published in the federal register later this week, according to senior DHS officials.
Holiday vacation destinations around the United States - including President Donald Trump´s own Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida - depend on tens of thousands of temporary workers in the summer and winter, many of them young people from eastern Europe and Asia.
DHS said the government has created a new tip line to report any abuse of the visas or employer violations.
"The fact that more than 700,000 visits were overstayed a year ago shows just how much we need to step up interior enforcement to create more of a deterrent, not only by identifying and deporting overstays, but by weakening the job magnet by cracking down on employers who hire illegal workers", she said.More news: NHIS: Reps accuse minister of corruption
Businesses that take advantage of the H-2b visa program have to attest under oath that they will suffer irreparable harm if they can't get the temporary foreign workers. The government generally offers 66,000 such visas a year.
DHS press secretary David Lapan told reporters, "we're talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm", according to The Washington Times.
Some 66,000 "H-2B" visas were allocated for this summer, and resorts from ME to Florida along the USA east coast have complained they don´t have enough.
"We do think it fits into the "America First" focus of the administration", said one of them.