U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Oct. 12 that it has reached its cap on H-2B visas for the first half of the 2022 fiscal year, which runs Oct. 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022.
The congressionally mandated annual cap on H-2B visas is 66,000 – 33,000 for the first half of the fiscal year and 33,000 for the second half (plus any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year). While the threshold has been reached for the first half, petitions can be submitted for those seeking to begin work in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – Sept. 30, 2022).
What Are H-2B Visas?
H-2B visas are for seasonal non-agricultural workers from another country who want to work temporarily in this country. Landscaping, construction, and meat and seafood processing are among the most common jobs held by H-2B visas. These workers are non-immigrants, meaning they are restricted to the activity or reason for which they were allowed entry. They are not seeking any immigrant status to remain in the U.S. and will return to their home country.
Exceptions to the Mandated Cap
There are specific types of workers who are exempt from the mandated cap. Petitions in these categories are still accepted.
Workers exempt to the mandated H-2B cap include the following:
Current H-2B workers asking to extend their stay
Current H-2B workers who are changing employers
Current H-2B workers who have changes to the terms or conditions of their employment
Fish roe processors and technicians
Supervisors of fish roe processing
Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam
Spouses and children of H-2B workers classified as H-4 non-immigrants are also exempt.
Qualifying for an H-2B Visa
Employers filing petitions for temporary work visas must show that there is a shortage of workers in that field and the foreign nationals are not displacing American workers.
Employers must also demonstrate the following:
Employing H-2B workers does not negatively impact the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.
There are not enough American workers who are able, willing, and qualified to perform the work.
The work is temporary and serves to fill a need during a peak period, a specific season, or a one-time shortage.
Other Employment Visas
Temporary work visas last a fixed amount of time. The type of visa required depends on the type of work that will be performed. The prospective employer applies for the visa on behalf of the worker. Once approved, the worker obtains a nonimmigrant work visa.
In addition to H-2B, there are other nonimmigrant work visas, including the following:
H-2A Visa: For temporary seasonal agricultural workers
H-1B Visa: For workers in a professional capacity that requires at least a bachelor’s degree
L1A Visa: For executives and managers who are transferees from international companies
L1B Visa: For workers with specialized knowledge who are transferees from international companies
E1 Visa: For a national of a country in which the U.S. has specific treaties so they can enter the U.S. to engage in international trade
E2 Visa: For a national of a country in which the U.S. has specific treaties so they can enter when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business
There are also temporary work visas available for artists, performers, athletes, religious workers, and other categories. There are several other non-immigrant visas not related to employment. Those include visas for medical treatment, education, and tourism.
Don’t be frustrated by the complex laws and regulations of the U.S. immigration process. Rely on the experience and knowledge of a skilled immigration lawyer to help you better understand your rights.
Contact Kanu & Associates, P.C. for a case evaluation by calling (602) 353-7795 or submitting our online form.