Updates on the H2B Visa Situation for FY2018
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Yesterday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirsten Nielsen testified at DHS’ FY19 Appropriations hearing. DHS' discretionary authority to issue up to 68,000 additional visas was brought up on several occasions. Here is a summary:

  • Congressman Dr. Andy Harris asked Secretary Nielsen when DHS plans to make a decision on its discretionary authority to release additional H-2B visas. Dr. Harris emphasized the impact the H-2B visas shortage is having on the Eastern Maryland seafood processing industry. 

  • Congressman Scott Taylor later asked Secretary Nielsen for a specific date when the Secretary would announce DHS’ intentions to release additional H-2B visas. The Secretary said that she would get back to him on Friday with a more specific timeframe. 

While Secretary Nielsen stopped short of committing to a specific schedule for the release of H-2B visas, she indicated that discussions will be ongoing in the very short term.  Secretary Nielsen also asked Dr. Harris to work with DHS to help determine the best future approach to the cap. The Secretary emphasized that she would prefer not to be put in the position she is in now and would like to work with Congress on a permanent solution so that it is not left to DHS to determine cap increases in future years. 

This also echoes what we are hearing from our meetings with the Trump Administration. They want to work with us on a permanent fix so that we are not in this position every year. We will be working with the our industry colleagues, Administration, Dr. Harris, and our other allies on the Hill on the framework of a permanent fix in the coming months. If you would like to contribute to this discussion and framework, consider joining one of the Seasonal Employment Alliance (SEA) committees. You can view the various SEA committees by clicking here

You can view the entire hearing by clicking HERE