The H-2B visa program, which provides a temporary seasonal workforce, has helped our family hotel grow from only a couple of year-round jobs to the workforce we have today. Given the importance of the program, the questions and uncertainty around it for 2018 are alarming.

With the program cap at 66,000 visas for the entire country, and only 33,000 given out to the summer program (the period Maine businesses can apply for), applying for the 2018 season feels much like a game of roulette – only the well-being of our family business, our team and our community is at stake.

Without the seasonal workforce, the economic impact stretches beyond just hotels with closed sections. It would be felt in many ways: first, across Ogunquit’s shops, restaurants and attractions; second, across the state of Maine, with lost tax revenue; and third, in York County, with lost jobs as businesses struggle in the winter because of losses in the summer season. Not a single Mainer benefits if this happens.

Maine faces real concerns should the H-2B visa cap for the 2018 season not be raised. The application process for 2018 has already begun – with a 53 percent increase in applications reported across the country, according to Bloomberg BNA. Congress must provide a solution now. This seasonal workforce is critical to our local economy and to the small businesses that hope to keep employees working year round.

Our hotel, and indeed many a Maine community, is counting on a solution from our congressional representation. The need for a fix is now.

Allyson Cavaretta

owner, Meadowmere Resort


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