As noted by MeBIC previously , the 33,000 nationwide cap for summer seasonal H-2B worker visas was reached in March. This was two months earlier than the prior year, and shut many Maine employers in the hospitality sector out from getting the workers many have relied on for years to handle the surge in summer and “leaf-peeping” tourism.
In May, Congress included language in an appropriations bill that would have allowed the issuance of up to nearly 90,000 additional H-2B visas per year, as MeBIC discussed in this post. On July 19, 2017, the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor issued a final rule implementing the new law, but authorized only an additional 15,000 H-2B visas for the current fiscal year ending on September 30, 2017.
Coupled with a new requirement imposed by Congress that employers attest that they will suffer irreparable, permanent, harm should they not get the temporary H-2B workers they need, among other requirements, DHS and DOL’s rule is too little, too late to help Maine’s summer seasonal non-agricultural employers this year.