Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement in response to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) announcement making available an additional 20,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for fiscal year (FY) 2022. These visas will be set aside for U.S. employers seeking to employ additional workers on or before March 31, 2022:

“I’m grateful that the Biden administration is making these additional visas available. Every year, my office hears from seafood businesses about how difficult it is to fulfill labor needs in an industry with incredibly demanding and temporary jobs like processing crabs and shucking oysters. These businesses – often small and family-owned – live in a constant state of worry, unsure whether they’ll have to cancel contacts because they can’t get the workers that they need. While this announcement is welcome, additional visas will be needed in the spring, when our seafood processors face their busiest season of the year. Moving forward, I will continue to push for reforms to the H-2B visa program to ensure our processors have the labor certainty they need for their businesses to grow and thrive.” 

The H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Visa Program allows U.S. employers to hire seasonal, non-immigrant workers during peak seasons to supplement the existing American workforce. In order to be eligible for the program, employers are required to declare that there are not enough U.S. workers available to do the temporary work, as is the case with the seafood industry, which relies on H-2B workers for tough jobs such as shucking oysters and processing crabs. 

Sen. Warner has long advocated for the expansion of H-2B visas in order to ensure that seafood processors in Virginia have the seasonal workforce they need. Earlier this year Sen. Warner, joined by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ben Cardin, and Chris Van Hollen (both D-MD) urged the Biden administration to make available the maximum number of Congressionally-authorized H-2B visas to support local seafood businesses.