Department of Homeland Security to Issue 15,000 Additional H-2B Visas.

On Friday, May 25th, the Department of Homeland Security announced that U.S. employers will received 15,000 additional H-2B workers for the Fiscal Year 2018.  The 15,000 visas will be in addition to the 66,000 visas that have already been issued through this program.

The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen M. Nielsen raised the cap on H-2B visas after determining there weren’t enough qualified US workers to meet the needs of American employers.  “The limitations on H-2B visas were originally meant to protect American workers, but when we enter a situation where the program unintentionally harms American businesses it needs to be reformed,” Nielsen said in a statement.

Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30).  The Department of Labor received over 80,000 H-2B applications on January 1st, 2018, which is the first day one could request to be submitted for one of the first 33,000 slots. The amount of applications the department received was triple what they received in 2017.

As of last week, eligible petitioners for H-2B visas can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Eligible petitioners must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-2 with their petition.

If you have any questions about H-2B, please contact EDA’s VP of Government Relations, Natalie Higgins.