WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) applauds the passage of legislation by the U.S. Senate that expands the nation's seasonal workforce and gives a boost to small businesses across the country. The Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act, an amendment to an emergency funding bill, will provide immediate relief to small business owners and avoid a workforce shortage as it removes a cap on H-2B Visas into the United States allowing small businesses to hire enough temporary seasonal workers. "Seasonal workers are crucial to the success of these businesses and a cap on H-2B Visas has caused a dangerous shortage of workers," said NFI President John Connelly. "The gap in the workforce has been felt by all of our members, from the harvesters to the packagers and shippers all the way to the hospitality and restaurant industry." "The Senate's action will allow our industry to provide the quality and quantity of fish and seafood that Americans have grown accustomed to and expect to have at shopping markets and restaurants." Congress put a cap on the H-2B program at 66,000 visas per year in 1990 and this number has not been adjusted since. This annual cap was reached only 3 months into the current fiscal year and many small business owners are now scrambling to find the workforce that will keep their businesses afloat. The bipartisan bill will exempt temporary seasonal workers who have participated in the H-2B visa program and have completely followed the law during the past three fiscal years from counting toward the statutory cap. "The removal of this cap will help small businesses stay afloat and stay competitive. Here at NFI, we are committed to providing safe, sustainable, affordable seafood. This legislation will not only benefit the American seafood industry but the American consumer as well," Connelly said. NFI is the leading trade association for the fish and seafood industry whose members represent a variety of businesses ranging from the ocean to the table. For more information visit our website at http://www.nfi.org.
SOURCE National Fisheries Institute