More H-2B visas on the way

The Trump administration says it plans to make another 15,000 H-2B guest worker visas available this year. It can’t come too soon for some agricultural businesses that rely on seasonal foreign workers to bring food to market.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, the blue crab industry is particularly panicked about a looming shortage of guest workers to pick meat from the tasty crustaceans. Crab season started in April, but Chesapeake Bay processing plants are running at about 50% capacity because Mexican workers traditionally hired each summer were locked out of an annual lottery that found 66,000 H-2B visas snapped up by February.

Without access to more visas, industry experts say half of the region’s processing plants could fail this year—and the retail price of crab could double!