New York: The US has received sufficient number of applications to reach the cap for additional 18,216 H-2B visas made available for returning workers for the first half of fiscal year (FY)-2023, the country’s federal agency for immigration services said on Wednesday.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in December had announced H-2B supplemental cap temporary final rule for employers seeking to petition additional workers at certain periods of the FY before September 15, 2023.
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.
Of the 64,716 additional visas, 44,716 were available only for returning workers.
The remaining 20,000 visas are set aside for nationals of Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, who are exempt from the returning worker requirement.
The USCIS said it will continue to accept petitions for H-2B non-immigrant workers for the additional 20,000 visas allotted for nationals of Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
“Petitioners whose workers were not accepted for the 18,216 returning-worker allotment are encouraged to file under the Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras allotment while visas remain available,” USCIS added.
As of January 26, 2023, USCIS received petitions requesting 4,260 workers under the 20,000 visas set aside for nationals of Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
The USCIS said it will also continue to accept H-2B petitions for those who are exempt from the Congressionally mandated cap.
This includes present H-2B workers in the US petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers.
While the cap for the supplemental H-2B visas for the first half of FY 2023 is 18,216, cap for the early second half of FY 2023 (April 1 to May 14), has been set at 16,500 visas limited to returning workers regardless of country of nationality.
For the late second half of FY 2023 — May 15 to Sept 30 — there are 10,000 visas limited to returning workers regardless of country of nationality.
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.
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