—————————————————————-The Trump administration is set to allocate an additional 30,000 H-2B visas this year, positive news for Maryland’s seafood industry.
Waterman and seafood companies depend on seasonal migrant workers who legally, temporarily visit the United States to pick crab meat, and then return home to Central and South American countries.
Maryland U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat shared the news. Maryland’s entire congressional delegation as well as Governor Larry Hogan have been pushing for additional visas. The H2-B visas are issued under a program for temporary, non-agricultural workers that (Maryland) crab and seafood processors have relied on for decades. Last year, The Trump administration began allocating the visas through a lottery system, causing Maryland seafood processors to lose an estimated 40 percent of their seasonal workers, most from Mexico.
The Governor’s office says half of the Eastern Shore crab processors did not open for business or were significantly reduced in their operation last season. A video produced by the Governor’s office also quoted University of Maryland statistics that suggest every H2-B temporary worker in crab processing helps create 2.5 jobs for American citizens.
Senator Van Hollen says the new visas will go to workers who have held H2-B status in at least one of the past three years.