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Federal Government Announces Temporary Rule Change for H-2B Visas

 Posted on November 22, 2023 in Immigration

Illinois Immigration LawyerOn November 17th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the Department of Labor (DOL), announced a temporary rule that will make additional H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available next year. There will be an additional 64,716 H-2B visas available in 2024 for workers for American businesses that are in dire need of foreign national workers because they cannot keep up with current consumer demand. These industries include landscaping, hospitality, tourism, seafood processing, and other industries that rely on seasonal and temporary employees. If you have questions about this new program or any other immigration issues, contact an Illinois immigration lawyer for help.

What Are H-2B Temporary Visas?

H-2B visas are a temporary non-immigrant visa category that allows foreign nationals to work in the United States for a specified period, typically for seasonal or temporary jobs that cannot be filled by American workers. These visas are commonly used in industries such as the ones listed above, where there is often a shortage of domestic labor during peak seasons.

The H-2B visa program is divided into two types of workers: seasonal and one-time occurrences. Seasonal workers are typically employed for up to nine months per year, while one-time occurrence workers are hired for a specific, non-recurring event.

The supplemental visas are only available to American businesses. Companies who want to hire H-2B workers must first obtain a temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor and need to demonstrate that there are no available and willing American workers to fill the positions and that if they are unable to obtain workers, their business will endure “impending irreparable harm.”

In recent years, demand for these visas has often exceeded the cap, leading to a lottery system to allocate the available slots. This cap, along with other regulatory requirements, can make it challenging for employers to secure H-2B visas for their seasonal workforce.

According to the requirements in the USCIS’s announcement, employers may only request workers who have been issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status in FY 2021, 2022, or 2023 unless they petition for workers under the 20,000 country-specific allocation.

Contact an Illinois Immigration Lawyer for Legal Assistance

If you would like to learn more about the H-2B temporary visa program or have other immigration issues you are dealing with, do not hesitate to reach out to Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices to meet with one of our dedicated Illinois immigration attorneys. Call 630-932-9100 to schedule a free consultation.

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