Vineyard Chamber pushes to increase worker visa cap

Executive Director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce Carolina Cooney with Congressman William Keating. Cooney traveled to Washington D.C. the week of April 17th to discuss travel and tourism priorities with members of Congress. — Courtesy MV Chamber of Commerce

Executive Director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, Carolina Cooney, traveled to the nation’s capital recently to advocate for the travel and tourism industries.

Cooney met with members of Congress as part of a U.S. Travel Association Destination Capitol Hill contingent that traveled to Washington, D.C. on April 17.

Among the priorities, Cooney asked Congress to fully fund the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism office, a new position created with strong bipartisan support last year. 

The contingent was also asking to lower B1/B2 wait times, which average more than one year in key inbound markets, keeping billions of dollars from entering the US economy. Cooney also advocated to increase the H-2B worker cap. A release from the Chamber says the cap has not been adjusted for 30 years, and the worker program does not meet workforce needs, especially on the Cape and Islands region. 

The release reports that the region alone sees travel spending of $4.4 billion, contributing nearly $300 million to state and local tax receipts, and providing 26,300 travel and tourism related jobs, according to US Travel data from 2019.

The group also advocated for advancing FAA reauthorization priorities, ensuring the nation’s airports are modern, efficient, dependable and secure.

Cooney met with staff at the offices of Congressman James McGovern (MA 2nd District), Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Seth Moultan (MA 6th District), and Senator Edward Markey, as well as directly with Congressman William Keating, who represents the Cape and Islands in the 9th District.

The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce is an independent, non-profit professional organization whose mission is to support the economic health of the business community on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.


    • Albert–I am assuming that your comment is sarcastic in nature– I apologize in advance if it is not.
      I think we actually do desperately need people to do some of the jobs that islanders do not seem to want to do. or perhaps, there are just not enough islanders to fill the demand for the jobs that are available.
      Given the context of this article, What solution do you suggest to alleviate the shortage of people available to fill the demand for jobs ?

  1. Create more housing. We are turning into vacation island which won’t be much fun if we don’t have people to provide valuable goods and services.

  2. Turning into a vacation island?
    The winter population is growing at a faster rate than the summer population, has been for years.

Comments are closed.