H2B Extensions

The Cook County Chamber of Commerce is searching for options to reduce the local tourism industry's reliance on seasonal foreign worker visas.

The concern is that, given the national climate regarding immigrants, the H-2B temporary worker visas on which many tourism businesses in Cook County rely is "so politically vulnerable," said Chamber Executive Director Jim Boyd.


"While it's great the employers this year got the workers they needed through H-2B, at least the large employers, it feels good that we're trying at least to take our fate into our own hands to some degree and not be so totally dependent on the political whims in Washington — are they going to like the program this year, are they going to hate it? We're trying to be masters of our own fate," Boyd said.

Tourism accounts for more than 80 percent of the county's economy, while the remaining businesses are indirectly affected by tourism. Businesses turn to the H-2B visas to fill positions because... read more