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Business and Economy

More temporary work visas issued to help small businesses fill positions

Virus Outbreak Maine Daily Life
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP
A man takes a look at nautical-themed gifts on display outside a shop, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

The federal government is issuing 35,000 additional H-2B Visas to help small businesses fill seasonal positions. The first allotment of 33,000 thousand H-2B Visas issued this year were quickly claimed, leaving businesses scrambling to fill job openings amidst a workforce shortage.

Greg Dugal of Hospitality Maine says 133,000 visas were requested nationwide and while the new allotment is welcome news, the via application process is time intensive and expensive.

"When you are in a place like Ogunquit or Bar Harbor where there are no other people to work. You have no choice but to stick to it and go through this process again in hopes of getting some employees," Dugal says.

Dugal says Maine usually gets between 2,500 and 3,000 H-2B visas in a year. Maine businesses can begin petitioning for the visas Wednesday, if they need additional workers between now and Sept. 30.