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The U.S. Department of State announced on Tuesday it issued a record amount of nonimmigrant visas during fiscal year 2023 (that is, between October 2022 and September 2023). "Half of our U.S. embassies and consulates adjudicated more nonimmigrant visas than ever before," said the entity in a statement highlighting the figure.

The DoS also said it issued nearly eight million visitor visas for business and tourism, more than in any fiscal year since 2015. In the field of education, it issued more than 600,000 student visas, the highest number since fiscal year 2017.

A similar amount of nonimmigrant visas was issued for high-skilled workers and executives to "work alongside American experts in some of the United States' most critical fields, ranging from emerging technology to healthcare."

Moreover, more than 440,000 visas were also issued for "temporary and seasonal workers, addressing the need for workers in agriculture and other sectors where too few U.S. workers are available, contributing to the American economy while addressing the root causes of irregular migration," the DoS said.

The figure comes shortly after the government announced an additional expansion of the amount of H-2B visas it will grant for temporary nonagricultural workers in 2024.

In October, DHS doubled the number of H-2B visas from 33,000 to 66,000. The department recently announced that it would grant 65,000 additional visas on top of the amended quota in 2024.

The new expansion comes after a meeting with DHS and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The H-2B program was expanded to ensure workforce needs are met in industries such as hospitality, tourism, landscaping and seafood processing.

In a press release, DHS provided insight into how it would award the supplemental visas. According to the department, 20,000 visas would be granted to workers from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras. Another 44,716 visas would be granted to workers who in the past have received an H-2B visa.

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