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U.S. to allow 35,000 more guest workers as summer nears

U.S. to allow 35,000 more guest workers as summer nears © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The seal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seen after a news conference near the International Bridge between Mexico and the U.S., as U.S. authorities accelerate removal of migrants at border with Mexico, in Del Rio, Texas, U.S.,

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States will grant employers as many as 35,000 further H-2B visas for seasonal guest workers starting jobs between April 1 and Sept. 30, according to a government statement posted online on Wednesday.

The expansion of the H-2B visas, used to employ landscapers, housekeepers, hotel employees and construction and carnival workers, among others, for the busy summer vacation season comes amid record job growth and a U.S. labor crunch despite worries over some economic headwinds.

Businesses have been bracing for summer travelers following two years of the pandemic, with rising demand leading to worries about potentially long lines and other strains.

The notice by the Homeland Security and Labor departments is for U.S. employers that face “irreparable harm” if they cannot get additional workers and aims to “provide temporary portability flexibility.”

Officials in January had granted an additional 20,000 visas – also for H-2B workers who tend to be temporary and in non-agricultural jobs – amid reduced labor force participation.

U.S. policy makers have been focused on trying to get more Americans to enter the workforce as they grapple with high inflation, rising gas prices and other issues two years after the COVID-19 outbreak began.

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