A one-time increase in the number of temporary work visas allowed for up to 15,000 additional workers to enter the United States for companies hiring under the H-2B program. For Maryland immigrants, it is important to note that the emergency measure does not include any reforms to the program that has been criticized for poor protections and low wages. It may also be of value to see how this move comes in spite of administration rhetoric against immigration.
The H-2B Workforce Coalition, which is comprised of companies relying on temporary, seasonal labor, lauded the increase as necessary. However, the work visa increase was criticized by some as being unnecessary and failing to address needed reforms. The Economic Policy Institute went so far as to say the effort will enable employers to take advantage of even more workers with reduced wage and employment rights.
Those receiving a temporary visa may find themselves at the mercy of unscrupulous employers. In these cases, the Department of Human Services has a hotline for reporting any abuse of employee rights. Temporary workers do not enjoy all the rights afforded under the naturalization process, but workers still have rights under many federal and state laws. Employers are also obligated to follow the law regardless of the legal status of their employees.
Temporary workers often suffer from lack of employment protections due to language barriers and the fear of losing an opportunity due to intervention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Advocates within the immigrant community can prove useful in remedying these shortfalls. People on a temporary visa may also benefit from the assistance of an attorney experienced in immigration law.