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Omnibus Contains Important Provisions for Eastern Shore Seafood Industry

January 15, 2014
Press Release


January 14, 2014

Omnibus Contains Important Provisions for Eastern Shore Seafood Industry

Rep. Harris and Senator Mikulski’s Actions Achieve Results for Shore Seafood Companies

Washington, D.C. – The Omnibus Appropriations bill, expected to pass this week, includes a provision important to the seafood industry on the Eastern Shore. As a result of bipartisan and bicameral work, Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congressman Andy Harris were able to get language included in the bill that allows the seafood industry to stagger the entry of H-2B seafood workers. Staggering workers is needed because of the variation in timing and duration of seafood seasons. 

Many of these seafood companies are family-owned and have worked for generations to produce seafood for local and world markets. During that time, the industry has employed a considerable number of H-2B visa workers. These visa workers are temporarily hired from other countries for seasonal industries and then return home once the visa expires. Before being eligible for H-2B visas, a business must first attempt to find workers who are already in the United States.  

“Our seafood industry is critical to the Shore economy,” said Harris. “Allowing the staggering of workers will give businesses the flexibility they need to meet market demand, and I am glad Senator Mikulski and I were able to get this done.”

Senator Mikulski is Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Congressman Harris is on the House Appropriations Committee. Congressman Harris is working on legislation to address broader issues with the H-2B immigration program. This would allow staggered entry of workers for all employers, not just seafood.