On October 12, 2022, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) jointly announced that they are making available an additional 65,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for fiscal year (FY) 2023. FY 2023 starts on October 1, 2022 and ends on September 30, 2023
The 65,000 visas are in addition to the 66,000 visas available each fiscal year under the H-2B program. Effectively, the US government nearly doubled the available H-2B visas for FY 2023 to address US labor shortages.
The H-2B visa allows US employers to temporarily hire foreign workers to perform nonagricultural labor in the United States. To learn more about the H-2B visa program visit our H-2B visa page.
Out of the 65,000 additional H-2B visas, 45,000 visas are available to returning workers. Returning workers are the ones who received an H-2B visa or were granted H-2B status during one of the last 3 fiscal years. The remaining 20,000 H-2B visas are exempt from the returning worker requirement, and are reserved for nationals of Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
To apply for the additional visas, employers must legally attest that they are currently suffering irreparable harm or will suffer impending irreparable harm, defined as permanent and severe financial loss, if unable to employ all the H-2B workers that they request. The employers may file H-2B petitions under this temporary increase.
The 65,000 visas are allocated as follows:
- H1 FY 2023 (Oct. 1, 2022 – Mar. 31, 2023) 18,216 H-2B visas are available to returning workers who held H-2B visas during FY 2020, FY 2021, or FY 2022. These visas are allocated for employment start dates on or before March 31, 2023 and may be filed immediately on or after Dec. 15, 2022.
- Early H2 FY 2023 (April 1, 2023 to May 14, 2023): 16,500 H-2B visas limited to returning workers who held H-2B visas during FY 2020, FY 2021, or FY 2022. The employment start date for these batch of H-2B visas must be from April 1, 2023, to May 14, 2023. Furthermore, employers must file these petitions no earlier than 15 days after the H2 FY 2023statutory cap of 33,000 H-2B visas is reached.
- Late H2 FY 2023 (May 15, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2023): 10,000 visas limited to returning workers who had H-2B visas during one of the previous three fiscal years. For this batch, employers must request employment start dates from May 15, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2023, and must file no earlier than 45 days after H2 FY 2023statutory cap of 33,000 is reached.
- For employers seeking H-2B for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras or Haiti: Employers who want any of the 20,000 H-2B visas available to nationals of the above countries may currently file petitions with USCIS for H1 FY 2023. Employers requesting an employment start date in the second half of FY 2023 no earlier than 15 days after the H2 FY 2023 statutory cap of 33,000 H-2B visas is reached.
This is quite a significant increase, as the number of available H-2B visas has nearly doubled. It shows commitment by the US authorities to both address labor shortages and to provide alternatives to illegal immigration.
The H-2B program allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign citizens from certain countries to fill nonagricultural positions in the United States. The employment period must be for a limited time and to fulfill a temporary need, such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal need, peakload or intermittent need.
U.S. employers seeking to hire H-2B workers must take a series of recruitment steps to test the U.S. labor market in order to show there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work for which they seek a prospective foreign worker. U.S. employers must also certify that employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
Malescu Law can assist
If you are a U.S. employer seeking to hire foreign workers to fill a temporary need for employees, contact us, your trusted H-2B visa attorneys or book a consultation.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers