Congress Presses Administration to Quickly Act to Increase FY 2019 H-2B Visas

As noted in this prior MeBIC post, the omnibus spending bill that averted a government shutdown included a provision to allow issuance of up to 135,320 H-2B non-agricultural seasonal work visas for FY 2019, a more than 69,000 increase in visas over the usual 66,000 annual cap.

This same fix has been included in spending bills in FY 2017 and FY 2018, and in each of those years, only 15,000 additional H-2B visas were made available by DHS, and too late in the year for employers to truly benefit from them.

Members of Congress have now appealed to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to issue the full 69,320 additional visas without delay, so that they can be used by businesses in Maine and elsewhere  who need to add staff from April 1st through the end of FY 2019 to meet their seasonal labor needs.

Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King¬† were joined by a bipartisan group of senators in a March 1, 2019 letter, and Senator Collins and Representative Chellie Pingree, along with 136 other Senators and members of Congress, signed a March 4, 2019 appeal urging the Department of Homeland Security to act without delay so that businesses will not one once again be economically harmed by a “too little, too late” authorization of additional H-2B visas.