US announces 20,000 additional H-2B visas to ease worker shortage

WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (Reuters) – The United States government said on Thursday it will grant an additional 20,000 H-2B visas for the first half of the fiscal year, in a bid to ease a labor shortage in the country.

The visas are intended to help US employers who face irreparable harm if they can’t get additional workers by March 31, 2022, the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor said in a statement.

“We are providing employers with the necessary resources and support to sustain their businesses while expanding legal pathways into the United States,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The additional visas will become available to employers on Jan. 28, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security said, adding that they come at a time of record job growth and shrinking workforce participation.

The Department said 13,500 of the visas are available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa or were granted H-2B status during one of the last three fiscal years. The remaining 6,500 are for people from Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu; edited in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)

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