Visa woes have summer businesses looking to Puerto Ricans

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PHIPPSBURG, Maine (AP) _ Tourism businesses from Maine to Missouri are turning to Puerto Ricans as they deal with red tape and visa limits on foreign workers.

Many of the Puerto Ricans are happy to help as they try to escape a shattered economy and devastation caused by Hurricane Maria last year.

Employers large and small are seeking alternative solutions as demand continues to outstrip the annual allotment of 66,000 H-2B temporary visas.

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday announced an additional 15,000 visas but it’ll take weeks to get the paperwork sorted. Those visas are issued for workers holding down seasonal, nonagricultural jobs.

Sebasco Harbor Resort, in Phippsburg, Maine, hired a half-dozen Puerto Ricans last summer. This summer it is doubling the number and would like to hire even more.

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