NEW YORK: The US has received a sufficient number of applications to meet the congressionally-mandated H-2B cap for the second half of fiscal year 2023, the country’s federal agency for immigration services announced.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said February 27 was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date on or after April 1 and before October 1.
Currently, the congressionally-mandated cap for H-2B visa is set at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1-March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1-September 30).
The agency also announced the filing dates for the supplemental H-2B visas for FY 2023, made available under the supplemental visa temporary final rule.Under this rule, the USCIS began accepting H-2B petitions increasing the cap by up to 64,716 additional H-2B non-immigrant visas for FY-2023.
These supplemental H-2B visas are for US employers seeking to petition for additional workers at certain periods of the fiscal year before September 15.
They are available only to US businesses that are suffering irreparable harm or will suffer impending irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition, the USCIS said.
The agency further said that it will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap, which includes current holders of this visa in the US who wish to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers.
Others who are exempt include, fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam (until December 31, 2029).
The H-2B visas are issued for seasonal/temporary jobs which allow employers to hire skilled or unskilled workers to fulfil the shortage of workers in the US.
The employer must obtain a Department of Labor certification before the visa application can be initiated.