WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced today that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will resume processing of H-2B visas. Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) filed a motion to stay the order which led to the suspended processing of H-2B visas earlier this month. That stay has been granted.
On March 17, 2015 DHS announced it would process applications for which they already had USDOL labor certifications. With this development, USDOL will also resume processing new labor certifications.
In response to this news, Senators Collins and King said, “This is welcome news for the countless Maine employers who rely on H-2B workers in their peak busy season. With this announcement, the unnecessary repercussions to the state’s economy will be minimal.”
H-2B visas, which certify immigrants to work temporarily in the United States, are heavily relied upon in Maine’s many tourism communities that are in need of seasonal, temporary workers. Without these employees, the current situation could have a detrimental effect on Maine’s economy in the upcoming heavy tourism season. Earlier this month, the visa application process was put on hold following a judgment from a U.S. District court in Florida against USDOL.
This action follows a letter from U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King last week which urged the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and USDOL to resume the processing of H-2B visas immediately. Senators Collins and King also joined a bipartisan group of Senators in signing letters to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez regarding this same issue.