Maine businesses struggle as work visa delays continue

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine's hospitality businesses have been hit hard as the visas seasonal foreign workers rely on continue to be delayed.

The Kennebec Journal reports that the Department of Homeland Security hasn't increased available work visas even though Congress authorized the agency to do so in May.

Now, more than 2,100 foreign workers can't work because the H-2B visa program is stalled.

Hotels and restaurants in the state have responded by cutting hours, closing hotel rooms and laying off employees.

Critics say the H-2B program leads to fraud.

Independent Sen. Angus King says the worker program is vital to a large part of the Maine economy and that small problems shouldn't cause a holdup.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage says he is urging the federal government to issue more visas.
 

© 2017 Associated Press


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