U.S. Senators from Maine Susan Collins and Angus King announced Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are expected to make an additional 64,716 H-2B worker visas available for Fiscal Year 2024.
The over 64,000 temporary nonagricultural worker visas will come in addition to the congressionally mandated 66,000 H-2B visas that are available each fiscal year.
“These additional H-2B visas are a welcome relief for small businesses throughout Maine that continue to face a shortage of employees,” the Senators said in a Wednesday press release. “These visas are a lifeline for our state’s economy, helping businesses meet the increasing demand for their products and services.”
Senator Collins and King previously led a successful push in December 2022 to raise the H-2B limit to approximately 65,000 visas.
The announced supplemental allocation of H-2B visas for FY 2024 is expected to include 20,000 visas for workers from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras.
The remaining 44,716 visas will be made available to returning foreign workers who previously received a H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during the last three fiscal years.
The H-2B program is intended to allow foreign workers to fill seasonal or temporary positions Americans have not taken.
Under federal regulations, in order to hire an H-2B visa recipient employers are first required to determine that qualified workers in the U.S. are not available to perform the temporary work, and that the employment of the H-2B worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.