An additional 15,000 H-2B visas for temporary nonagricultural workers will be available for the remainder of fiscal year 2018, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced. Secretary of Homeland Security ordered the increase after determining a shortage of qualified US workers available to perform temporary non-agriculture labor to satisfy the needs of American businesses in the current fiscal year.
This allocation is in addition to the 66,000 visas already issued this year.
Secretary Nielsen made the decision after consulting with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, members of Congress and business owners.
“The limitations on H-2B visas were originally meant to protect American workers, but when we enter a situation where the program unintentionally harms American businesses it needs to be reformed,” Secretary Nielsen said.
The H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker program was designed to serve US businesses unable to find a sufficient number of qualified US workers to perform nonagricultural work of a temporary nature. Congress set the annual H-2B visa cap at 66,000. A maximum of 33,000 H-2B visas are available during the first half of the fiscal year, and the remainder, including any unused H-2B visas from the first half of that fiscal year, is available starting April 1 through Sept. 30.
On Feb. 27, USCIS determined that it had received sufficient H-2B petitions to meet the full FY 2018 statutory cap of 66,000. Starting this week, eligible petitioners for H-2B visas can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Eligible petitioners must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-2 with their petition.