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Pingree H-2B Visa Amendment Adopted

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District says she was successful in amending the appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security in a way that could improve the labor supply for Maine tourism businesses.

Thousands of seasonal businesses depend on foreign workers, known as H-2B workers, to do jobs that many Americans will not do. Pingree was successful in continuing a flexible policy on visas for foreign workers that depends on employer demand, rather than a flat limit.

“Sufficient workers are not always available for seasonal jobs. Economic recovery of regions that rely on seasonal businesses, like my district, may depend on the availability of H2B workers.”

Pingree says without the continued flexibility in the rules, the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic could be slowed.

“If the economy is good enough and DHS and DOL determine that additional H2B workers are needed, then more visas will be available. But if not, then they won’t. The amendment does not make new policy, it simply extends current law.”

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.