The Trump administration is reportedly planning to allow 45,000 additional seasonal guest workers to return to the U.S. this summer through the H-2B visa program, according to an article by the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper cites three unnamed administration officials who say that the Department of Homeland Security plans to announce the additional visas this week. They will become available in two waves: the first 20,000 will be immediately available, while employers can apply for the remainder of jobs beginning June 1.
The H-2B visa program allows U.S. companies to bring in as many as 66,000 foreign workers a year, with workers filling jobs in industries that include landscaping, restaurants and hotels.
The Department of Homeland Security is permitted by Congress to raise the cap by as many as 64,000 additional visas. However, in Trump’s first two years in office, the cap was only raised by 15,000 visas to 81,000. Last year, it was doubled to 30,000, bringing numbers to 96,000, according to a Newsweek article.
It is not yet clear whether the Trump administration has signed off on the numbers. In a statement to The Journal, a DHS spokesperson said acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf had “made no decision yet on the issue” and that any numbers reported at this time are being pushed to press by junior staff who are not privy to all of the discussions taking place.