Additional Guest Workers Welcomed, Entrepreneurs Sidelined

Guest workers rush for additional 15,000 visas

It’s a mixed bag of news this week as an additional 15,000 H-2B “guest worker” visas are slated to become available.

The cap on guest worker visas was reached in March, a blow to the hospitality industry relying on the visa to meet the needs of the summer travel season.  Concerns about understaffing, and its impact on beloved destinations like Mackinac Island and Cape Cod, were highlighted in a recent New York Times piece.  Even President Trump's own Mar-a-Largo resort is a notable user of the guest worker program.

Attorneys are now rushing to help clients apply for the 15,000 additional coveted visas.  As part of the program, petitioners must attest that their companies would be likely to incur “irreparable harm” if they can’t get H-2B workers.  They must also document recruitment efforts.  How helpful the additional visas will be is up for debate; the visas are expected to be consumed quickly.  It will also take weeks for the cases to be approved and scheduled for consular interviews, coming so late in the season that it may be of limited value.  Yet, the additional visa numbers are a welcomed temporary relief to many American businesses.

Entrepreneur Parole is Stalled, Maybe Dead

In a disappointing move, the Trump administration announced a halt on the implementation of the International Entrepreneur program.  The program was supposed to go into effect July 17, but the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo on Monday pushing the launch to March 14, 2018.

Under the International Entrepreneurs Rule, foreign nationals building "fast-growing businesses" could apply for "parole status" to work in the U.S. That status is typically only granted to individuals who need a visa to work on humanitarian or medical relief.

The regulation of H and L visas make it nearly impossible to launch a start-up in the U.S.  This new parole status would have made that process easier and encouraged new businesses to take root.

DHS will solicit comments from the public about rescinding the rule, and "may ultimately eliminate the program."