Alaska Delegation Applauds Homeland Security Rule Creating Flexibility for Seafood Industry

The Alaska Congressional Delegation today applauded the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s announcement that it is implementing a temporary rule that will give seafood processors more flexibility to hire workers in H-2B status during the COVID-19 pandemic. This action creates parity with the H-2A program, which was granted similar temporary flexibility in April of 2020. The recently published rule will allow companies that are critical to the U.S. food supply to hire current visa holders already in the country, speeding up the hiring process and enabling workers to begin work as soon as a certified employer has submitted the necessary documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  

“In Alaska, H-2B workers are vital to keeping our seafood industry running and supplementing our domestic labor pool. I thank the Department of Homeland Security for listening to our concerns and issuing a temporary rule that will give flexibility to H-2B employers critical to the US food supply chain in Alaska and across the nation. This is an important step in the right direction to enable our seafood companies to hire seasonal workers and continue operations at a time when it’s needed most. I appreciate Acting Secretary Wolf’s recognition that seafood is just as critical to the U.S. food supply as other sectors, like agriculture.” 

“I appreciate the Department of Homeland Security’s continued attention to our seafood industry and their recognition, by taking this action, that this industry is critical to the U.S. food supply chain,” said Senator Sullivan. “We will continue to monitor this situation in the coming weeks and months as the fishing season surges throughout the summer.” 

“Alaska’s fishing industry is one of the biggest drivers of our state’s economy,” said Congressman Don Young. “Our fishing vessels and processors work hard every day to put food on the tables of families across America. In order to succeed, our fishing vessels need a workforce capable of meeting the demands of Alaska’s seafood sector; H-2B visas are critical to meeting those demands. I am grateful to Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and to the Trump Administration for issuing a rule granting greater flexibility to Alaska’s H-2B employers. I will keep working with the Delegation to ensure our fishing industry has the support it needs to weather this unprecedented public health crisis and come back even stronger than ever.”

Related Issues: Alaska's Fisheries