Shaheen Responds to Reports Stating Trump Administration Will Increase Temporary Work Visas that Support NH Small BusinessesFebruary 21, 2020
**The Reports Follow Shaheen’s Bicameral, Bipartisan Letter Calling for an Increase in H-2B Visas to Provide Relief to NH Small Businesses**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement in response to reports that the Trump administration plans to provide an additional 45,000 H-2B visas nationally, which help Granite State small businesses fill seasonal job openings in the current tight labor market. The reports come less than a month after Shaheen sent a bicameral, bipartisan letter with Senator Angus King (I-ME) to Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf urging the administration to immediately increase the statutory cap of H-2B visas this year. Senator Shaheen is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and supported this provision in the funding legislation. Shaheen had previously called on Senate Appropriations Committee leadership to provide cap relief in any funding agreement.
“If these reports are accurate, I’m glad the administration is heeding my call to increase the number of visas available under the H-2B program,” said Shaheen. “Without these additional seasonal workers, New Hampshire’s tourism industry could face a severe workforce shortage, causing significant harm to the Granite State businesses and workers that are important to our state’s economy. I urge President Trump to act expeditiously in enacting this change so that New Hampshire small businesses can apply as soon as possible. Our peak tourism season approaches, and time is running out.”
H-2B workers support American jobs and small businesses, and the H-2B program is an important asset to New Hampshire’s tourism industry. Bipartisan research has found a direct correlation between increased numbers of H-2B workers and a rise in pay across the board for all employees. As required by law, employers must first make a concerted effort to hire American workers to fill open positions. H-2B visas fill needs for American small businesses when there are not enough able and willing American workers to fill the temporary, seasonal positions.
Senator Shaheen previously visited Hart’s Turkey Farm in Meredith to discuss the importance of temporary visas and the role they play in New Hampshire’s tourism sector. Last year, Shaheen sent a bipartisan letter urging then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to increase the number of H-2B visas for temporary foreign workers in 2019, and the administration subsequently released additional visas.
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