March 29, 2019

Van Hollen Announces DHS will Allocate Additional H-2B Visas

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be allocating an additional 30,000 H-2B visas for the remainder of fiscal year 2019 to applicants who have held H-2B status in at least one of the past three fiscal years. This comes after repeated requests from Senator Van Hollen, including the most recent letter earlier this month that highlighted the disastrous impact that lack of access to visas has had on the Maryland crab industry. The Senator has met directly with local crab house owners to discuss the impact of their ongoing labor shortage and relayed those concerns in both letters and phone calls to DHS Secretary Nielson.

Maryland crabs are central to our state’s economy – from watermen who harvest them from the Bay, to the crab houses who process them, to restaurants and stores across the state who sell our iconic blue crab. Lack of access to H-2B visas has had terrible consequences on our seafood industry, which I’ve repeatedly stressed to the Administration. These additional visas will bring welcome relief and ensure that crab houses have a reliable workforce. I will continue working with all stakeholders to put in place a long-term solution and protect Maryland’s economy,” said Senator Van Hollen.