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U.S. Government Expands Opportunities Under H-2B Visa Program

Feb 27, 2024

Reflection of a man looking at a black and orange help wanted sign in a business window

Major industries in the United States such as tourism, hospitality, food processing, and landscaping rely on seasonal workers to help meet fluctuating labor needs throughout the year. Many businesses in these industries choose to hire foreign workers to fill these temporary, seasonal positions. 

In 2023, the Biden administration expanded the H-2B visa program (for temporary non-agricultural workers) to support the growing demand for seasonal workers and maintain U.S. economic growth. Here’s a closer look at some of the H-2B program updates from the last year:

Expanded Work Opportunities

As part of a collaborative effort between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL), the H-2B visa program was expanded in 2023: 

  • 65,000 additional H-2B visas were made available for temporary nonagricultural workers.
  • 20,000 visas were allocated specifically for workers from Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
  • Overall, the U.S. government expanded legal pathways for temporary work to slow unlawful migration to the U.S.

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Labor Protections

In order to strengthen the H-2B visa program and support both foreign-born and domestic workers, the DHS and DOL also rolled out new labor protection measures in 2023, including: 

  • The creation of a new Worker Protection Taskforce, designed to protect H-2B workers’ rights and identify potential fraud of the program, including the use of H-2B visas to avoid hiring American workers;
  • Expedited deferred action process for any foreign workers who are victims of (or witnesses to) labor rights violations.

You can learn more about the H-2B visa program in Boundless’ guide.

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