Pappas Commends Announcement of Additional 35,000 H-2B Visas; Calls on Congress to Reform Program and Provide Certainty to NH employers

March 5, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) commended the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement today that it will make available 35,000 supplemental temporary nonagricultural worker visas (H-2B) for the second half of fiscal year 2020, while underscoring the need for additional visas to be released and calling on Congress to fix this broken system in order to meet the workforce needs of Granite State employers:

“This announcement of more H-2B visas is good news for the New Hampshire economy,” said Congressman Pappas. “I have been working for months with Members of Congress from both parties, Administration officials, and small businesses to address the urgent needs of seasonal employers in my state and across the country. While these additional 35,000 visas will certainly help, more workers are needed to meet the needs of Granite State businesses in a range of industries. The time has clearly come for Congress to reform the H-2B system and finally give New Hampshire business owners the certainty and predictability they deserve.”

In January, Congressman Chris Pappas met with local business owners in Conway to hear directly for them about the need to make additional H-2B visas available. 

Congressman Pappas spoke again last night with Trump administration officials urging them to release additional H-2B visas to address workforce shortages in New Hampshire and across the country in seasonal industries. 

Additional actions Congressman Pappas has taken on this issue:

  • On January 15, 2019, Pappas signed a letter to the House leadership asking for permanent, meaningful H-2B cap relief in any budget agreement.
  • On March 5, 2019, Pappas signed a letter to then-DHS Secretary Nielsen asking her to release additional H-2B visas without delay.
  • On May 31, 2019, Pappas signed a letter to the Appropriations Committee requesting meaningful visa cap relief.
  • On November 12, 2019, Pappas signed a letter to House leadership asking for the release of 64,716 additional H-2B visas in the year end appropriations package. 
  • On January 27, 2020, Pappas signed a letter to Acting DHS Director Wolf, asking him to release all available visas.

“These seasonal workers drive important sectors of New Hampshire’s economy,” continued Pappas. “Additional relief from the cap on H-2B workers is needed to alleviate the workforce shortages and economic dislocation that have hurt our small businesses the past two years. I remain committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to do just that.”

According to DHS, the supplemental visas will be made available in two batches to prevent a small handful of employers from using all the visas: 20,000 for start dates beginning April 1, and 15,000 for start dates beginning May 15. Adding a second batch will address specific congressional concerns about late-season filers.