Analysis of the Current U.S. Center for Immigration Studies Data of the H-2B program

The H-2B visa is a guest worker program used by landscaping, hospitality and tourism to fill season or temporary jobs.

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The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released its analysis of the current USCIS data of the H-2B program for fiscal year 2017, which ended on September 30. Through its analysis, CIS found key discoveries in H-2B areas including: certification numbers, average pay, occupations and the additional 15,000 visas granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The H-2B visa is a low-skilled guest worker program primarily used by the landscaping, hospitality, and tourism industries to fill season or temporary jobs. The annual cap for H-2B visas is 66,000. However, in July, DHS Secretary Kelly used his authority, granted to him by Congress, to approve an additional 15,000 visas for FY17.

The H-2B visa has been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress for cutting American workers wages and being used to discourage or discriminate against American workers.

A few of the key findings from the study are:

  • There was a 1.3 percent decrease in the number of certifications (employer requests certifying that they need H-2B workers and were not able to find Americans to fill the positions) from 119,232 in fiscal year 2016 to 117,716 in fiscal year 2017. CIS points out that this is still one of highest numbers in the history of the program.

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