Tag Archives: H-2B visas

Fish-o-nomics 101

Alaska leads the nation in unemployment, and fish processors in Bristol Bay are complaining they couldn’t find the workers necessary to head, gut and in some cases further process this year’s unexpectedly large bounty of sockeye salmon. Because of this, commercial fishermen were put on limits to avoid plugging processing plants with too many salmon, which left most of them unhappy. “I personally have driven through and away (from) more fish than I’ve ever seen in my life during a legal fishing opener. And that hurts,” fisherman Larry Christensen told reporter Caitlan Tan at KDLG in Dillingham.  The public radio station this year live-covered the Bristol Bay fishing season as if it were some sort of sporting event, and there are some similarities. And while fishermen were unhappy with processors, processors were unhappy with the government which they blamed for making it hard to bring in foreign workers to process fish. click here to read the story 08:48

Federal officials order 15,000 new visas for low-wage workers

The Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced a one-time increase of 15,000 additional visas for low-wage, seasonal workers for the remainder of this fiscal year, a seeming about-face from President Trump’s “Hire American” rhetoric, following heavy lobbying from the fisheries, hospitality and other industries that rely on temporary foreign workers. The increase represents a 45 percent bump from the number of H-2B visas normally issued for the second half of the fiscal year, said senior Homeland Security officials in a call with reporters Monday. The visas are for workers taking seasonal jobs in the seafood, tourism and other industries — but not farm laborers. click here to read the story 16:55

Shrimpers hoping for relief from foreign worker shortage

Rio Grande Valley shrimpers, faced with a crippling shortage of foreign workers due to Congress’ failure to renew the H-2B Returning Worker Program, may have a glimmer of hope in the federal spending bill signed into law May 5. The bill contains language authorizing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to raise the cap on the number of foreign workers with H-2B visas. U.S. companies can hire in fiscal year 2017 from 66,000 (33,000 for each half of the fiscal year) to nearly 130,000. The question is whether Homeland Security will follow through and raise the cap, and how soon. Andrea Hance, executive director of the Texas Shrimp Association, said owners of shrimp fleets and processing plants on the Texas coast are in desperate straits for want of workers, with the Texas shrimp season set to reopen in mid-July, she said. click here to read the story 12:48