Excerpt From: Breitbart News. Written By: Neil Munro.
Thirty-one Democratic and Republican Senators are asking the Department of Homeland Security to maximize the use of blue-collar outsourcing visas so U.S. companies can import more foreign workers instead of recruiting, training and paying unskilled U.S. workers.
The bipartisan request comes three months after the shocking November vote pressured GOP leaders to slash the H-2B visa program from a one-year high of 264,000 visas back down to the long-standing level of 66,000 visas.
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The request to Department of Homeland Security John Kelly also comes as a claimed shortage of H-2B is prompted recruiters to find, hire, train and retain some of the millions of young underemployed men and women who could fill the many low-status seasonal jobs in landscaping, golf course maintenance, cleanup in restaurants, seafood processing, and hotel cleaning which are often allocated to H-2B contract-workers.
Recruitment consultants are helping employers hire alternative workers from American trade schools and from Puerto Rico. They are also warning employers to raise salaries and benefits for U.S. workers or else lose the workers to better-paying companies. “The first thing all employees want is a decent wage … Do you pay a competitive wage? This is probably the first place to start,” one employer recently urged her fellow landscaping employers.
On March 6, North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis announced a bipartisan Senate effort to increase the supply of H-2B visas, saying;
Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mark Warner (D-VA) and a bipartisan group of 29 other senators sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, outlining concerns that the H-2B visa statutory cap will be reached soon. The Senators requested the Department of Homeland Security to conduct an audit to determine the number of unused visas during the first half of the fiscal year, and also requested that any unused visas be provided to eligible businesses that have been unable to secure an adequate number of workers due to the cap.
According to the statement,
In 2015, after previously announcing that the statutory cap had been reached, [the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency] determined that more than 5,000 unused visas were available. Soon thereafter, the agency began accepting applications from businesses still hoping to hire workers through the program. With that in mind, we respectfully request that your office conduct an immediate audit of the number of unused visas from the first half of the fiscal year and project the likely usage rate for the second half of the fiscal year … As with prior practice, any unused visas should be provided to eligible businesses that have been unable to secure an adequate number of workers due to the cap.
The estimate of 5,000 unused visas is based on the number of approved-but-unused 2015 visas.