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Maine senators want more seasonal worker visas

February 21, 2022 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s U.S. senators are joining an effort for more seasonal worker visas to help with summer hiring needs.

Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine and Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota are leading the push, and have called on the Biden administration to raise the cap on seasonal worker visas. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is among dozens of other senators involved in the effort.

The senators said an increase in the cap is important because small businesses are having difficulty finding employees around the country. They said the federal government is authorized to release a total of 64,716 additional visas this fiscal year, and should release all of them.

“American businesses from industries such as tourism and hospitality, landscaping, fairs and carnivals, seafood processing, golf courses, reforestation, contractors and horse racing depend on seasonal employment to meet the demand across many industries,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

“Without meaningful H-2B cap relief, many seasonal businesses will be forced to scale back operations, cancel or default on contracts, lay off full-time U.S. workers and, in some cases, close operations completely,” they added.