USCIS Reaches H-2B visa Cap for First Half of FY 2019

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-2B visa cap for the first half of fiscal year 2019.

US businesses use the H-2B visa program to employ foreign workers for temporary non-agricultural jobs.

On 6th December, the number of beneficiaries USCIS had received petitions for surpassed the total number of H-2B visas available for the first half of the 2019 Fiscal Year. In accordance with regulations, USCIS used a computer-generated lottery, to ensure the fair and orderly allocation of H-2B visa numbers to meet, but not exceed, the cap for the first half of FY 2019. The draw for this lottery was made earlier this week.

Currently, Congress has the H-2B visa cap set at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (1st October – 31st March) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (1st April – 30th September).

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes the following types of petitions:

– Current H-2B workers in the United States petitioning 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 Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from 28th November 2009, until 21st December 2029.

Article published 14th December 2018