by Center for Immigration Studies —
Potentially doubles the number of guestworkers despite available US workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 22, 2018) – An updated analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies shows the number of H-2B (temporary, unskilled non-agricultural) workers, and their distribution by state and occupation. The House just passed a new spending bill covering the remainder of the fiscal year, which allows for an increase in H-2B workers, further suppressing job opportunities for less-educated and young U.S. workers.
The spending bill, which now goes to the Senate, allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exceed the annual cap on H-2B workers, up to the number admitted in 2007, the last peak year for issuances. If fully implemented by USCIS, this could potentially add as many as 63,000 additional H-2B guest workers next year, nearly doubling the size of this program.
Jessica Vaughan, the Center’s Director of Policy Studies, said, “The H-2B program should be ended, not expanded. It is remarkable that despite all of the urgent immigration problems, the only change that Congress wanted to make was to bring in more foreign workers to fill jobs that should be made available to some of the millions of less-educated Americans who need jobs now. As it is currently run, H-2B employers don’t need to compete for U.S. workers – they can bypass them with the help of the labor brokers who recruit from overseas.”
Vaughan added, “Congress should never have expanded this program without first demonstrating that there is a genuine need for these workers, and that employers, labor brokers, and workers comply with the rules of the program.”
View the entire analysis at: https://cis.org/Huennekens/House-Allows-H2B-Increase-Omnibus-Spending-Bill
Visit the H-2B program topic page at: https://cis.org/H-2BNonimmigrantVisaProgram
Access the CIS Immigration Data Portal at: https://cis.org/Immigration-Statistics-Data-Portal
Highlights from the analysis:
• The new omnibus spending bill includes a provision that could add as many as 63,000 additional H-2B workers, above the statutory cap of 66,000.
• The number of certified positions increased by 11 percent between FY2016 and FY2017. In 2017, DOL certified 133,985 positions, up from 119,232 positions certified in 2016.
• The states with the most certified H-2B workers were Texas, Florida, Colorado, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Virginia. According to federal statistics on labor force participation, all these states have large numbers of available U.S. workers.
• The average wage employers reported grew from $12.31/hour to $13.08/hour between 2016 and 2017.
• The top H-2B occupational categories remained the same: landscaping and groundskeeping workers, forest and conservation workers, and maids and housekeeping cleaners.
• Rather than enlarging this controversial program, lawmakers should instead consider more innovative ways to compete for available American workers.