DHS Announces Availability of Additional H-2B Visas
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the availability of 20,000 additional H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2022. These visas are for U.S. employers that are facing irreparable harm without additional workers and seeking to employ additional workers on or before March 31, according to a news release.
“DHS is taking action to address the needs of our economy by making an additional 20,000 H-2B visas available to workers,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “We are providing employers with the resources and support needed to sustain their businesses while expanding lawful pathways to the United States. At the same time, DHS and DOL are protecting against the exploitation of H-2B workers.”
This supplemental cap increase, which comes at a time of record job growth and reduced labor force participation, marks the first time that DHS is making additional H-2B visas available in the first half of the fiscal year. DHS first announced the joint temporary final rule in December 2021. The additional H-2B visas will become available to employers on Jan. 28.
The supplemental H-2B visa allocation consists of 13,500 visas available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years. The remaining 6,500 visas, which are exempt from the returning worker requirement, are reserved for nationals of Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire noncitizens to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. The employment must be for a limited period of time, such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal or intermittent need. Employers seeking to hire H-2B workers must take a series of steps to test the U.S. labor market. They must provide certification from the DOL that proves there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available to do the temporary work for which they seek a prospective foreign worker, and that employing the H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Additional details on these safeguards, and on eligibility and filing requirements, will be available in the temporary final rule and the Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants webpage.
The joint temporary final rule can be found in the Federal Register.