The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) have issued a temporary rule providing an extra 64,716 H-2B visas for the fiscal year 2024, beyond the annual cap of 66,000. This addresses the demand for temporary nonagricultural workers in industries such as hospitality and landscaping. The move aims to fulfill workforce needs, contributing to the economy and aligning with the Biden Administration’s commitment to lawful migration pathways.
By providing extra visas early on, the Departments aim to help U.S. businesses plan ahead and secure seasonal workers. Simultaneously, DHS and DOL are enhancing protections for both U.S. and foreign workers. This includes enforcing the H-2B program’s requirement for employers to prioritize hiring American workers and ensuring safeguards against unfair practices. Recently, DHS and DOL proposed regulations to strengthen worker protections in H-2A and H-2B visa programs. The White House-led H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce also outlined new measures to enhance safeguards for vulnerable H-2B workers and similarly situated U.S. workers.
Who Can Apply for the Additional H-2B Visas?
Only U.S. businesses facing severe and irreversible financial harm if they can’t hire all the requested H-2B workers can use the temporary increase. Employers can only request workers who got H-2B status in FY 2021, 2022, or 2023, except for those under the 20,000 country-specific allocation. The rules for the 64,716 supplemental visas don’t apply to certain petitions exempt from the H-2B cap, like extension requests or those for specific fish roe processors, which can still follow regular H-2B program rules.
Is There a Deadline for Filing for the 2024 H-2B Visas?
USCIS will stop accepting petitions under this temporary final rule received after Sept. 16, 2024, or after the applicable cap has been reached, whichever occurs first. They will consider petitions requesting an employment start date after September 30, 2024, towards the first half statutory FY 2025 H-2B cap, subject to all eligibility requirements for FY 2025 H-2B cap filings.
How to File an H-2B Petition for the Additional H-2B Visas
To assist U.S. businesses that need workers to begin work on different start dates, the supplemental visas will be distributed in several allocations, including two separate allocations for the second half of FY 2024. All petitions requesting the additional H-2B visas made available for FY 2024 must be filed at the Texas Service Center.
Are You Interested in Applying for an H-2B Visa?
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