Keating announces H-2B progress – The Martha’s Vineyard Times

Congressman Bill Keating, Seen here in 2021 at a Woods Hole event, has purged red tape from the H-2B visa program. — Rich Saltzberg

U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, D-Bourne, told The Times in a recent interview that after years of lobbying to cut red tape in the H-2B visa program, his office has finally seen “terrific” results. H-2B visas permit foreign nationals to temporarily work in the U.S., and are widely used on the Island to fill seasonal jobs in the tourism industry.

Keating said the process for H-2B visas is no longer piecemeal and unpredictable. For the coming fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, he said, the whole process has been streamlined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor. Furthermore, the cap on workers has jumped.

“This is extraordinary in terms of its impact,” Keating said. “They’re nearly doubling the number of H-2B work visas in the coming year.”

That amounts to 65,000 additional workers, according to a DHS release. 

The focus of the program will remain on returning workers, Keating said, who often come back to businesses they’ve long worked at. The uncertainty in the program, which Keating said was particularly acute during the Trump Administration, is gone. 

Keating expected the retooled program and boosted worker cap to be “a sigh of relief, given the strain that so many of these businesses have been under.”



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