Trump Signs Proclamation Suspending Certain Work Visas Through End of Year


Citing job losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump has issued a proclamation extending his existing ban on immigrant visas and further suspending work visas through the end of the year, including H-2B visas used by employers in the construction industry.

H-2B visas allow employers to hire foreign workers to come temporarily to the United States and perform temporary non-agricultural services or labor — including construction work — on a one-time, seasonal, peakload or intermittent basis.

These visas are limited to 66,000 annually and available to a broad swath of industries, leading to fierce competition. Some builders or subcontractors can successfully qualify for the H-2B program if they need to hire additional people to perform peak seasonal work, but most construction industry jobs that need filling are for year-round work.

As a result of the president’s executive order, if NAHB members were expecting an H-2B worker and that person does not have a travel document and has not yet arrived in the U.S., they will no longer be able to come here through Dec. 31.

“While we understand why the president is taking this action, it also underscores the need to create a year-round market-based guest worker program for the construction sector that expands and contracts with the economy that NAHB has long been advocating,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “So when the economy is up, more visas are available because jobs are in demand, and when the economy is down, fewer visas are available.”

For more information, contact Lake Coulson.

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