Statement of U.S. Sen. Mark Warner on Announcement Making Available an Additional 35,000 H-2B Temporary Nonagricultural Worker Visas
Mar 31 2022
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 35,000 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 between April 1, 2022 and September 30, 2022:
“Last week I met with Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas and emphasized the need for the Biden administration to make additional H-2B visas available so that Virginia’s seafood businesses can meet their labor needs. Every year, my office hears from seafood businesses about how difficult it is to find and hire workers in an industry with incredibly demanding but 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 contracts because they can’t get the workers that they need. I thank the Biden administration for making these additional visas available, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to reform 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. Last 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.