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To help seafood industry, Harris urges reallocation of unused H-2B visas

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With crab houses and seafood processors struggling to meet their labor needs,Maryland Rep. Andy Harris says the federal government needs to reallocate unused H-2B visas toguarantee enough workers."These guest workers are crucial to the economy of Maryland’s First District," said Harris, a Republican,in a statement. "Our iconic crab houses and seafood processing industry are experiencing increaseddemand for their products while still struggling to meet their labor needs, despite record numbers ofunemployment caused by COVID-19.”The H-2B visa program provides visas for temporary work in seasonal, non-agricultural industries and issubject to a bi-annual cap of 33,000 visas awarded every six months via lottery.The visas are utilized extensively by seafood processors and crab houses on the Eastern Shore, as wellas by other businesses; Maryland industries have been troubled in recent years by chronic H-2B visashortages."All of the 33,000 have been allocated to employers who requested them and were successful in the visa‘lottery’ – however, there are reports that many of those visas have not actually been issued and used bythose employers who requested and received them," Harris wrote in an email to The Daily Times.

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