US meets additional H-2B visa cap within days

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it has already received petitions to fill the 15,000 additional H-2B visas that were made available at the end of May.

The additional cap was surpassed in the first five business days of being open. In fact, USCIS received petitions for far more beneficiaries than the number of visas available. A computer-generated lottery will now randomly select enough petitions to meet, but not exceed, the increased H-2B cap.

USCIS will reject and return unselected petitions with their filing fees, as well as any cap-subject petitions received after 6th June.

Only employers whose petitions were accepted will receive receipt notices.

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from, or not counted towards, the cap. These include petitions for:

– Current H-2B workers in the United States seeking to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;

– Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, or supervisors of fish roe processing; and

– Workers performing labour or services in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam, until 31st December, 2019.

US businesses use the H-2B program to employ foreign workers for temporary non-agricultural jobs. 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 and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year.

The 15,000 additional visas for FY 2018 were available only to American businesses which, among other requirements, attest that they will likely suffer irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition.

Article published 13th June 2018