H-2B Visa Cap

On May 21, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor made available an extra 22,000 H-2B visas for 2021 for nonagricultural workers. Some employers really need help because their businesses suffer without those people.

6,000 visas from those additional ones are reserved for foreigners from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

“Today’s joint rule helps American businesses and addresses the need for robust worker protections,” said the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “For the first time, we are setting aside supplemental visas for noncitizens from Northern Triangle countries, in the furtherance of President Biden’s and Vice President Harris’ direction to expand the legal pathways for protection and opportunity for individuals from those countries.”

“The temporary final rule is designed to prevent permanent and severe financial loss to U.S. employers by supplementing the congressionally mandated H-2B visa cap, takes into account feedback from American businesses, employer organizations, and labor representatives, and is one piece of the administration’s broader comprehensive framework for managing migration throughout North and Central America,” explained the USCIS Acting Director Tracy L. Renaud. 

“This rule incorporates several key provisions to ensure adequate safeguards for U.S. workers and H-2B workers. The rule requires that employers take additional steps to recruit U.S. workers, and provides for “portability,” which allows H-2B workers already in the United States to begin employment with a new H-2B employer or agent once the USCIS receives a timely filed, non-frivolous H-2B petition, but before the petition is approved. Portability enables H-2B workers to change employers more quickly if they encounter unsafe or abusive working conditions. The DHS and DOL will also conduct a significant number of post-adjudication reviews to ensure compliance with the program’s requirements” (https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/us-departments-of-homeland-security-and-labor-issue-joint-rule-supplementing-h-2b-visa-cap.) 

Beginning May 25, 2021, employers who have already verified that there are no US qualified employees to do seasonal nonagricultural work may file form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/forms/i-129.pdf.) Employers should submit proof that they suffer without a workforce.

Additional information is available at https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/temporary-workers/h-2b-non-agricultural-workers/temporary-increase-in-h-2b-nonimmigrant-visas-for-fy-2021

*For informational use only. 

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