Aquaculture North America

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US boosts quota of guest workers


July 20, 2017
By Liza Mayer
Guest workers in the US on limited visas fill many seasonal and temporary jobs Move could help seafood processing industry


US employers can now bring in an additional 15,000 temporary workers this fiscal year, bringing the total of workers allowed under the H2-B visa program to 81,000, the US government announced.

H2-B visas apply to post-agricultural production workers. Prior to Monday’s announcement by the Trump administration, only 66,000 workers could come to the US on H2-B visas, while H2-A visas — agricultural production workers — aren’t capped. The workers can stay for 10 months per year in the US for three years, returning to their home country in between each stint.

Guest workers in the US on limited visas fill many seasonal and temporary jobs, and the seafood industry is no exception. H2-B workers are shared among industries, with 40 percent going to gardening, 12 percent going to hospitality and 20 percent going to meat and seafood.

“The increase in quota would definitely help the seafood processing industry. However, there are things such as competition with other industries for these visas that must be taken into account, and this remains tricky,” a PhD student studying the H2-B visa program told Aquaculture North America.


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