Immigration

Texas Employers To Benefit From 30,000 More Seasonal Visas

The H-2B visa program is growing from 66,000 seasonal visas to nearly 100,000. In 2017, Texas employers hired some 15,000 of these workers — more than any state except Virginia.

Landscaping is one of the fields that depends most on seasonal foreign workers through the H-2B visa program.

The Trump administration is temporarily expanding a visa program, allowing an additional 30,000 seasonal workers for fiscal year 2019.

The H-2B visa program is growing from 66,000 temporary visas to nearly 100,000.

Texas companies will be able to recruit more low-skill workers for jobs in landscaping, resorts, seafood and other industries.

In 2017, Texas employers hired some 15,000 of these workers, more than any state except Virginia.

Migration Policy Institute senior policy analyst Julia Gelatt said the move is interesting since the Trump administration generally supports policies to curb immigration.

“They’ve tended to be on the side of foreign workers are competing with U.S. workers and are hurting the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers, but at the same time there’s a big lobby from the businesses that really feel that they really need these workers in the United States,” she said. 

She said the politics over this particular visa is different than others.

“Trump properties actually used the H-2B program,” she said. “There are a lot of employers in the country who argue that they really can’t find workers, particularly for short-term jobs.”

Employers have to prove they’ve tried to hire citizens first, before they can recruit foreign workers. 

Workers generally are recruited from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. 

A full list of employers that depend on seasonal H-2B workers is available here

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