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H-2B cap at 66,000 leaves seafood processors facing uncertain future

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will not increase the cap on H-2B visas for the 2020 fiscal year, but the agency is implementing a new rule it said will give food processors more flexibility to help them during the covid-19 pandemic.

The rule, scheduled to be published Thursday, May 14, will allow companies to hire current visa holders already in the country for work, according to a statement posted on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services site.

"These necessary flexibilities will safeguard a critical U.S. infrastructure sector; reinforce security of the nation’s food supply chain; and encourage key American businesses to maintain essential operations currently threatened by the covid-19 public health emergency,” said Joseph Edlow, deputy director for Policy at Citizenship and Immigration Services. “Importantly, these measures protect U.S. workers by not adding supplemental H-2B visas during the national emergency.”

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