January 6, 2016
Buried in the omnibus spending bill was an expansion in the H-2B visa program for less-skilled seasonal workers outside of agriculture. The changes will not increase the current H-2B visa cap, but instead will exclude from the cap workers who have received an H-2B visa in the last three years. As John Miano has pointed out, the provision could theoretically quadruple the number of visas for this year, to 264,000, though the actual increase is likely to be smaller. (David North reports that last time this provision was passed, in 2007, the number more than doubled.)
In a recent radio interview, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) justified the insertion of this provision on the grounds that without it businesses would face shortages of seasonal workers of the kind covered by the program.
Is there evidence for Ryan's claim of a labor shortage? Read more...