WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) today announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will release an additional 35,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the second half of fiscal year 2022. These visas are vital to the small businesses that make up Maryland’s crab and seafood industries, and the supplemental release follows efforts from the Senators to press DHS to provide more visas after only one of Maryland’s ten crab processors was selected to receive them. The Senators also worked to secure language with the fiscal year 2022 omnibus to provide DHS with the authority to release additional visas.
“The small businesses that make up Maryland’s crab and seafood industries are vital to our local Shore economy and our communities. Having a reliable workforce is crucial to their success, and the H-2B visa program is essential to building and maintaining that workforce. That is why we’ve fought to deliver additional visas for our Maryland businesses – including by securing language in this year’s funding bill to ensure DHS had the authority to take action. We’re glad to see them heed our calls to provide these additional visas, and we urge them to get them out as quickly as possible to the businesses that need them. Together, we will continue working towards a long-term legislative solution to both uphold worker rights and bring more certainty to this program that Maryland’s seafood small businesses rely on.”