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Immigration and crawfish season in Louisiana

The crawfish industry in Louisiana possibly faces adversity due to Congressional limits on H-2B visas. These limitations amount to only 66,000 H-2B permits issued per year. These limitations could prevent enough workers coming from Central America and Mexico in assisting crawfish industry employers.

There were 5,546 H-2B workers hired in Louisiana in 2014. Still, Mike Strain, the Agriculture Commissioner, estimates crawfish industry losses this year could be as high as $30 million – presumably due in part to labor shortages.

One processor in the crawfish industry expressed concerns as well. Though peak season for the industry has begun, this processor states he is unable to hire an adequate number of peelers to keep the business moving. Without the peelers, there’s a reduction in the amounts of crawfish processors buy from local fishermen.

The problem concerning this issue indicates that restriction on immigration often results in harm to businesses. This is especially true for industries relying upon seasonal labor for certain tasks.

Legislation makes it difficult for employers to fill their needs. Immigration regulations are often complex and many issues need to be addressed before work-related visas are granted. There’s no point in recruiting good workers if they are unable to come to our state to work.

Employers and immigrant employees may thus need to turn to experienced attorneys to address compliance issues and avoid future problems. The ability to cut through red tape and have workers available when needed saves employers both time and money. Attorneys can advise businesses concerning all legal options while completing the needed paperwork and representing employers at hearings.

Source: KPLC 7, “Immigration problems impact Louisiana's crawfish season,” March 30, 2015

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