W-visa: New work visa fills labor shortages

W-visaA new temporary work visa will be created with the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill. The W-visa creates a nonimmigrant classification for low-skilled workers.

The W classification allows foreign nationals to work in labor-specific jobs, namely construction, in the U.S. on a temporary basis. Visas are initially granted for a period of three years with a renewal period of up to three years. Immediate family members, minor children and spouses, of W visa holders are eligible to accompany or join and may be granted work authorization.

Employers must register with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to be eligible to hire W visa holders. The occupation must also be registered as having a shortage of employable applicants.

Visa allotments will be determined by the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research, a newly created entity within USCIS in the Department of Homeland Security. The Bureau will conduct research such as determining what jobs are in shortage and where these shortages are to determine the annual cap for W visas. They will also expand the available recruitment methods for employers to attract W classification workers.

To be eligible for a W visa, the applicant:

  • cannot be otherwise inadmissible to the U.S.;
  • pass a background check; and
  • agree to accept only registered positions in the U.S.

Illegal immigration has long been a problem in the U.S., especially in labor related employment. The new bill for comprehensive immigration reform, titled “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigrant Modernization Act,” hopes to resolve this issue by stream-lining the immigration process, making it simpler for U.S. employers to hire foreign-national workers and meet labor demands. This passage of this bill is hopeful. It has bipartisan support in Congress and public support throughout the nation.


More on Immigration Reform:

  • Immigration Reform 2013
  • Gang of 8
  • Earned Citizenship
  • Streamlining Immigration
  • Strengthening Border Security
  • More Accountability for Employers Hiring Undocumented Immigrants

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