US meets cap for H-2B visas

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has held a lottery to select the latest batch of successful applicants for H-2B visas.

On 21st February, USCIS began receiving H-2B cap-subject petitions for the second half of the 2018 fiscal year. However, during the first five business days, the organisation received approximately 2,700 H-2B cap-subject petitions requesting approximately 47,000 workers, which is more than the number of H-2B visas available.

As a result, USCIS, in accordance with applicable regulations, conducted a lottery on 28th February to randomly select enough petitions to meet the cap.

USCIS will reject and return the petitions and associated filing fees to petitioners that were not selected, as well as any cap-subject petitions received after 27th February.

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from, or not counted towards, the congressionally mandated cap. This includes petitions for the following workers:

– 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, and/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 programme 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 (1st October to 31st March) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (1st April to 30th September).

Article published 5th March 2018