Murkowski Welcomes Additional H-2B Visas, Critical for Seasonal Jobs in Alaska

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) released the following statements after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) announced 20,000 additional H-2B nonagricultural worker visas for the first half of fiscal year 2022, which will be available to employers on Friday, January 28, 2022. This marks the first release of supplemental visas in the first half of a fiscal year.

“The H-2B visa program has long played an important role for seasonal fishing and tourism businesses across Alaska. Our summer season is right around the corner, so it is particularly important that these industries have certainty to be able to plan and have a workforce in place. We are hoping for a tourism season on the rebound from COVID and the forecast for the Bristol Bay fisheries could break records. We need additional workers to supplement our local workforce,” said Senator Murkowski. “I have made the release of additional visas a priority, urging the administration to recognize the unique situation we have in Alaska with seasonal industries, often in remote areas with limited workforce, and to address the gap in a timely manner. I want to thank Secretary Mayorkas, Secretary Walsh, and their teams for working with me to make this success possible.”

The federal H-2B program allows businesses to hire workers from foreign countries for temporary positions that they have not been able to fill with local workers. It is frequently used to support Alaska’s seafood and tourism industries. This program allows for foreign workers to work in the United States for a season and return to their home countries. These visas are for U.S. employers that are facing irreparable harm without additional workers and seeking to employ additional workers on or before March 31, 2022. 

Related Issues: Alaska's Fisheries