Governor Janet Mills praised today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that it will release an additional 35,000 H-2B visas nationally for the second half of the 2022 Fiscal Year. These visas will help Maine businesses fill seasonal jobs and temporarily address longstanding workforce shortage issues as businesses prepare for the summer tourism season.
“Last summer, Maine welcomed record numbers of visitors to our state, but many businesses were short-staffed because the pandemic worsened our already longstanding workforce shortage problem,” said Governor Mills. “These additional visas will be a boost for our tourism and hospitality industry, helping fill jobs as they prepare for a busy summer season. I appreciate the advocacy of Maine’s Congressional Delegation.”
Earlier this month, Governor Mills wrote to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary (PDF) Alejandro Mayorkas, urging him to quickly make additional visas available for the second half of the Fiscal Year. In January, Governor Mills also joined a group of bipartisan Governors from Utah, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Guam in urging President Biden to act on the issue (PDF).
In a typical summer, Maine needs an estimated 2,500 H-2B workers to support our tourism sector, but in 2021 Maine businesses received approximately half of what was requested. According to Maine Office of Tourism research, over 60 percent of visitors to Maine travel during the summer season.
Information on how to submit H-2B related job orders on the Maine JobLink can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/h2b/index.shtml