A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discusses the recently released seasonal worker visa program, or the H-2B. While the purpose of the program is to enable seasonal staff to do jobs that American citizens typically don’t want, there has been significant backlash.
Immigration is an extremely sensitive and controversial issue across the nation. So really any program dealing with migrant workers, even if their visas are temporary, is bound to get attention (and some backlash).
The WSJ article points out that new H-2B applies primarily to certain industries (landscaping, forestry, amusement, tourism and construction), and clarifies that many of the jobs being filled by seasonal workers are jobs that Americans do not express sufficient interest in.
Certain businesses, such as Kissel Entertainment (mentioned in the WSJ article), are impacted significantly by these programs due to their dependence on seasonal workers. Problems like slowdowns can cost up to $50,000 in lost revenue.
Although many employers seem to speak well of the new H-2B, it has seen a lot of criticism from people like Sen. Bernie Sanders. Yet another way to rehash the debate surrounding immigration and migrant workers “taking” jobs from Americans. But if the program is a way of filling jobs that Americans otherwise aren’t taking, are those jobs really being taken?