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New H2B visas announced for winter; Keating says more coming for summer workers

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Liz Lerner
Main Street in Falmouth

An additional 20,000 H2B visas will be available for temporary workers hired by the end of March, the Biden administration announced Monday.

Congressman Bill Keating said another 20,0000 will be available for the summer, when the Cape and Islands need them most, but the administration has not confirmed that.

Plus, any unfilled slots from the winter will roll over into the summer, he said.

“So I fully anticipate, for that second half, there'll be more than 20,000 additional workers available,” he said.

About two-thirds of the 20,000 H2B visas announced Monday by the Department of Homeland Security are reserved for returning workers, a category many Cape and Islands employers say is important, because it allows them to bring back skilled employees they’ve trained in the past.

About one-third of the visas are reserved for workers from Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Keating said he’s been assured of a summer batch by Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor working for the Biden administration.

“I was directly in touch with Cass Sunstein, and he detailed all this,” Keating said. “And he's the person in charge, so it'll happen.”