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DHS Announces Availability of Additional H-2B Visas for First Half of Fiscal Year

author Published by Chris Pierce

The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor has announced the availability of 20,000 additional H-2B visas for the first half of the current fiscal year. The DHS describes the additional H-2B visas as temporary nonagricultural lower-skilled worker visas as a response to the nonexistent labor shortage.

The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire noncitizens to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. Under the law, employers seeking to hire H-2B workers must take a series of steps to test the U.S. labor market, including proving there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the work for which they seek a prospective foreign worker, and that employing the H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

DHS secretary Mayorkas stated on this issue:

DHS is taking action to address the needs of our economy by making an additional 20,000 H-2B visas available to workers. We are providing employers with the resources and support needed to sustain their businesses while expanding lawful pathways to the United States. At the same time, DHS and DOL are protecting against the exploitation of H-2B workers.

The Department admits that this supplemental cap increase marks the first time that DHS is making additional H-2B visas available in the first half of a fiscal year – the 20,000 visa increase will be open to employees on January 28, 2022. The Congressionally approved increase found the last passed spending bill is now extended with every Continuing Resolution used to fund the Government, however, the increase is well above the annual cap for the H-2B visa.

The DHS release concludes with a breakdown of the additional 20,000 H-2B visas, “13,500 visas available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years. The remaining 6,500 visas are reserved for nationals of Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.”

You can read the full release here.

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