WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security has signed off on an additional 35,000 H-2B temporary worker visas to be given out nationwide.
Some of those will be awarded to Maryland, and go towards the state's crab and seafood industry which is short staffed.
Governor Larry Hogan for months had been pleading with the government to increase the number of issued visas.
These in particular will be good for the second half of this fiscal year (April-September).
Typically between 370 and 550 H-2B seasonal workers are needed annually in each of Maryland’s licensed crab picking houses.
But the U.S. government only gives out 66,000 visas a year, which are then divided evenly between the first and second half of the year.
The temporary work visas are issued via a lottery system, creating a yearly challenge for Maryland's Seafood industry.
Before the additional visas were approved, only one in 10 Maryland crab companies were selected to receive them for the second half of 2022.
It's unclear how many of the additional visas Maryland will receive, and how many crab companies in the state will benefit.