US to restart application processing of H-2B worker visas

March 20, 2015
H-2B worker visas processing will be restarted

US Department of Homeland Security stated that it will revive applications processing of H-2B visa for seasonal overseas worker visas used by workers in Maine’s tourism industry.

The announcement will affect over 200 people working in Mount Desert Island hotels and restaurants. And, an unopposed motion for an injunction paving path for the federal government to grant H2B visas critical for staff of Maine’s summer tourism businesses was petitioned in federal court in Washington D.C. 

The director of the Maine Innkeepers Association stated that the injunction would enable the H2B visa requests in the pipeline to get processed through April 2015. It is expected that the authorities will place new rules by that time. 

The US senators of Maine, Susan Collins and Angus King requested immigration authorities to restart resume processing visa requests. An H2B visa that allows immigrants to work temporarily in the US depends on Maine’s tourism communities that require seasonal and temporary workers. Maine businesses recruit around 35,000 seasonal workers every year and once a business is not able to find local workers to fill the available positions, they are permitted to recruit people with the H2B visas. 

Apparently, H2B visas are used by workers in the restaurant and hotel industries. Authorities estimate that about 250 summer workers on Mount Desert Island make use of the H2B visa program. Most people file application early in the season and would most probably get processed provided the injunction is issued. 

Senators stated that most Maine employers depend on H2B workers and requested officials to restart processing H2B applications to alleviate any potential economic consequences. They said that those applications that have been authorized should be approved and pending applications should be out into pipeline and processed depending on their merits.

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