The law is very clear that employers who wish to use the H-2A or H-2B “guestworker” programs, which allows US employers to import foreign workers to perform jobs in agriculture and other low-skilled industries on a temporary basis, must first recruit US workers to fill those job vacancies. Employers are only allowed to import foreign workers after they have shown that there are no US workers able and available to do the work. However, this new investigative report from BuzzFeed News reveals that employers who regularly rely on H-2A and H-2B visa workers have figured out how to avoid hiring US workers and how to make sure that the few US workers who get through do not last very long.
This preference for visa workers should come as no surprise to some of you. We have talked about the problems with the “guestworker” programs here several times over the last few years – chronicling the lengthy struggle in the H-2B program to increase the required wages and improve the regulations protecting both US and foreign workers, explaining the negative economic impacts of the programs, and sharing examples of how employers abuse the programs and the workers involved for personal gain (here and here). The sad truth is that employers prefer visa workers because their fragile legal status (they are only legally allowed to be in the US while they are employed by the employe who petitioned for their visas) makes them much more willing to put up with low pay and poor working conditions. But despite the well documented problems with the program and the fact that thousands of North Carolinians are still unemployed, Senator Tillis introduced a bill about a month ago that would make it even easier for employers to get H-2B workers instead of hiring local workers.
Every year, thousands of U.S. companies use special visas to bring in foreign guest workers. Many of those workers get ripped off, while the Americans who are supposed to get first crack at those jobs get nothing.
A BuzzFeed News Investigation: http://bzfd.it/1Sviz92
Posted by BuzzFeed News on Tuesday, December 1, 2015