Alaska seafood processors scrambling after visa limits reached

The limit for hiring overseas in H-2B program was reached more quickly this year than last.

The Alaska Department of Labor said Alaska seafood companies are relying more on state labor resources this year to find seasonal employees during the high salmon processing season, reports KDLG.

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“A lot of them are depending highly with the seafood unit because...they used to use these H-2B visa, and some of them decided not to use it or for some reason they were not able to use that program this year," said Nelson San Juan, the department's seafood employment coordinator, according to the news site. 

The H-2B program allows US firms to hire temporary workers from overseas. 

“The cap, or the number of limits that the employers could hire was met much quicker this year than last year for the total number of workers allowed to work in the industry," San Juan said. "So some of the employers are struggling for that reason."

Companies are looking more in the lower 48 to recruit workers, but are on a time crunch as the season has already started.

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