In May 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that 22,000 additional H-2B visas are available for FY 2021. 16,000 of the 22,000 were made available to returning H-2B workers who previously held H-2B status in fiscal years 2018, 2019 or 2020. Another 6,000 were reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, regardless of whether they previously held H-2B status.
The standard FY 2021 H-2B cap of 66,000 workers was reached on February 12, 2021, and the 16,000 supplemental cap increase was reached on June 3, 2021. USCIS recently reported that although it received a significant number of H-2B petitions for Northern Triangle workers, it did not receive enough to meet the 6,000-visa number.
Since many of the available 6,000 H-2B visas for Northern Triangle countries have not been used, the remainder has been allocated to returning workers. The announcement was made on July 23rd and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept applications until September 15, 2021, or until the cap is exhausted, whichever is earlier.
To apply on for an H-2B on behalf of returning workers a US employer have to:
- Apply on behalf of returning workers who have held an H-2B status in fiscal years 2018, 2019 or 2020.
- Petitioning employers must attest that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm if they are unable to hire additional H-2B workers.
- Apply as soon as possible. USCIS has indicated that the remaining H-2B visas are likely to be exhausted quickly.
In addition, US employers have to satisfy all other conditions of the H-2B program, including testing the U.S. labor market and certifying that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to fill the offered positions, and that employing H-2B workers will not negatively affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
Malescu Law P.A. – Immigration Lawyers