Many seasonal businesses in New Hampshire take advantage of temporary worker visas to fill jobs. Now that the busy summer season is here, companies are saying there aren't enough of what are called H-2B visas to go around.
The visas allow international workers to fill non-agriculture jobs like openings for restaurant servers and landscaping workers. The national cap is set at 66,000, though the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to add an additional 69,000.
Karmen Gifford, President of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, says demand is high for these workers this year, and the current limit is hurting companies in her area.
"It definitely is impacting them,” Gifford says. “The work is here, the weather's been great. We're kind of kicking off the season now and they're doing more with less people.”
In May, after pressure from Gov. Chris Sununu, Senator Jeanne Shaheen and other lawmakers, DHS announced it would add 15,000 additional H-2B visas. But Gifford says employers are still hustling to fill positions.
“You open up the newspaper, you look at Indeed and the help wanted, and they’re all actively seeking to fill the positions that they have,” Gifford says. “They just can’t find enough employees.”