Expedite construction H visas

Nov 10, 2018

We do not want a lack of construction workers to slow down our recovery efforts. So, I have asked Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to expedite H-2B visa applications for these workers, while at the same time respecting preferential hire for U.S. workers.

The Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act, enacted on July 24, gives the Marianas unlimited access to H visas through 2029. And the H-2B visa should be available to hire temporary construction workers, when there is a special, short-term demand, as that caused by Super Typhoon Yutu. I asked Secretary Nielsen to confirm that reading of the law, so construction companies can apply for the visas with confidence.

H-2B visas are renewable for up to three years, giving us plenty of time for rebuilding. And no visa may be issued without certification from the Secretary of Labor that no U.S. worker is able, willing, qualified, and available for the job.

I also used the opportunity to thank Nielsen for the work FEMA, one of her agencies, is doing in the Marianas and to thank Acosta for a grant of $2.8 million to employ workers who lost their jobs because of Yutu.