US Government Issues More H-2B Visas
Companies Desperately Need the H-2B Visa
An H-2B visa is a work permit available to applicants who are coming to the United States for temporary employment which is non-agricultural. Unlike the H-1B visa, which is for highly skilled workers in “specialty occupations,” the H-2B visa is for skilled and unskilled workers. Last Monday, the Trump administration stated that they will permit an extra 15,000 H-2B visas for the fiscal year. This was met with some criticism because it seemed to contradict the administration’s strict stance on immigration. However, the Trump administration has responded to critics by explaining that companies could potentially fail because of labor shortages. Businesses need more seasonal workers who are willing to come to the US on H-2B visas. The industries that rely on this visa include the horse-racing, fishing, construction, and hotel industries, among others. Companies have claimed that there are simply not enough Americans who are willing to perform seasonal work. In fact, the horse-racing industry continually undergoes work shortages due to the insufficiency of groomers. According to the administration, by granting 15,000 more H-2B visas, they are securing the necessary labor for American businesses, thereby putting “America first.”
How to Get an H-2B Visa
In order to get an H-2B visa, you must prove to the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) that your employment in the US is seasonal or temporary and non-agricultural. Additionally, a suitable background is required. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the H-2B visa process is the temporary labor certification. This involves proving to the US government that there are no qualified Americans willing or able to perform the work offered by the US employer.
The next step includes filling applications for the Department of Labor (DOL) and for the INS. The DOL will require that the US employer advertises the position to American workers. Only when the employer fails to find a qualified American worker from its advertising efforts will the temporary labor certification be approved and only then will it be possible for a successful H-2B application.
Once the DOL approves the labor certification, the US employer is required to file an I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with an INS Service Center with the jurisdiction over the place of employment. After the INS has approved the petition, the foreign worker can apply for the visa at a US Consulate in his or her home country. If the foreign worker is already in the United States, he or she may file in the US under certain conditions.
H-2B status is valid for a maximum of three years. After this three year period has expired, the foreign worker cannot seek to extend or change status, nor can he or she be readmitted to the US under the H and L nonimmigrant classification unless such a person has resided and been physically present outside the United States for the immediate prior six months.
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