Today’s Blog update discusses the latest expansion to the US guest worker visa scheme.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has declared that a further 20,000 H2B work visas will be open to Haitian and other Central American citizens in 2022. More visas will be allotted for seasonal, non-agricultural guest workers as the magnitude of migrants arriving at the US southern border with Mexico continues to increase.
According to a US official, the additional 20,000 US visas for guest workers will reserve the usual annual allocation of 66,000 visas for the fiscal year. The expanded number will comprise a 6,500 allotment for El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Haiti workers.
The H2B visa program, which employers use to hire housekeepers, hospitality staff, landscapers, carnival workers, construction workers, etc., arrives in between a chronic labor shortage in the US worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
Introduction Of Legal Pathways:
As a fraction of a $1.7 trillion social spending bill, the Biden administration has tried to drive through various legal pathways for migrants to arrive in the US. However, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough recently blocked Biden’s US immigration reforms for a third time.
President Biden has come under immense pressure to control the flow of illegal immigrants penetrating the US as the country’s southern border with Mexico holds record numbers of arrests of illegal migrants.
Although extra H2B visas are allotted, it will only represent a slight fraction of the number of migrants attempting to come into the US. The State Department figures indicate that the US Border Patrol has made arrests of 700,000 migrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and Guatemala in the 2021 fiscal year alone.
Allotment Of Fewer Visas:
Even though 20,000 additional H2B visas are made available for 2022, it’s still lesser than the 22,000 made available for the final half of the 2021 fiscal year.
The inclusion of Haitian citizens to those qualified for an H2B visa arrives after a decision by the Biden administration to deport thousands of migrants belonging to Haiti who had reached the southern border in Texas back in September.
After being excluded by the Trump administration for three years, Haiti was only recently accepted back to the US guest worker visa program. Trump’s administration accused Haitian nationals of overstaying their US visa or abusing their work permits.
In addition to restoring Haiti to the H2B visa program, the Biden administration included the country once again into the H2A program for temporary agricultural workers.
Haiti is encountering tremendous political unrest amid settings of violence and the assassination of President Jovenel Mose in July. Several natural disasters have also struck the country.
However, in early December, the Biden administration reached an agreement with Mexico to reinstate the Trump administration’s controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy. This policy forces asylum seekers to remain in Mexico as they wait for the result of their US immigration case.
The Economic Recovery Of The Country:
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, stated that extra H2B visas would help to boost the country’s historic economic recovery. The program is set to experience changes shortly.
Head of the US Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, added that developing the H2B visa program will raise opportunities for undocumented migrants while handling the economic drivers of migration from the Caribbean and Latin American nations in turmoil.
She stated that this work is a critical supplement to the United States’ investments to develop jobs, diminish violence, spur agricultural productivity, and strengthen governance in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Haiti.
Power further stated that her agency would deliver support to link applicants from Central America with US employers and aid them to navigate the complex US visa application process.
This is the end of today’s blog update. We hope you found this blog useful. Please don’t forget to support us by subscribing to our newsletter and sharing this blog with your friends and family on Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter.