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Posted on: February 20, 2019

Urge Fed Action on H2-B Visas, In Support of EH Businesses

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In response to the concerns of local business owners who have applied for H-2B Visas for foreign workers they hope to hire to bolster staffs for the summer season, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc has penned a letter to federal elected officials asking them to address problems in the H-2B Visa program and support changes to help insure that East Hampton businesses can assemble critical seasonal workforces in a timely manner.

“Three elements of the H-2B Visa Program are negatively impacting East Hampton businesses: the annual quota/cap on the number of visas issued, and the lottery procedure; the lack of an expedited process or exemption for returning workers, and – particularly this year, following the government shutdown – delays in issuing visas that leave business owners unsure of staffing until late February or March, or even later into the spring,” according to the letter, which was signed by the entire East Hampton Town Board.

The letter, which was sent to Congressman Lee Zeldin along with Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, underscores the importance to local businesses of H-2B Visa workers, in the face of an insufficient local workforce to meet their peak season needs. It asks the officials to support expedited processing of 2019 H2-B Visas, an increase in the number of visas issued annually, and an exemption for workers who have already qualified for the visa program and are returning to an employer.

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