DHS and DOL Make Available 30,000 Additional H2B Visas for FY 2019

Wendy Barlow's picture

On May 8, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) published a joint rule to make an additional 30,000 H2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available for FY-2019 [PDF version]. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) news release on the matter states that these additional 30,000 H2B visas will only be available “to returning workers who received an H2B visa, or were otherwise granted H2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years (FY 2016, 2017, or 2018), and availability is restricted by prioritizing only those businesses who would suffer irreparable harm without the additional workers.” (Emphasis added.)

The reason why the additional 30,000 H2B visas for FY 2019 are restricted to returning H2B workers is because they have “demonstrated their ability to abide by the terms and conditions of the H2B program and, therefore, are less likely to remain in the United States and work without authorization after their legal status expired.”

Beginning on May 8, 2019, eligible petitioners may file a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, seeking to accord H2B status on an eligible H2B worker for one of the additional 30,000 H2B visas. These petitioners must also submit a supplemental attestation on the Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-3 with their petition. Among other things, a petitioner submitting a supplemental attestation on the Form ETA 91-42-B-CAA-3 that his or her business would suffer irreparable harm if it could not employ the beneficiaries of the associated H2B petition.

The DHS's and DOL's decision to make available an additional 30,000 H2B visas for FY 2019 comes as welcome news to employers with a need for foreign workers and for returning H2B workers who may benefit from employment opportunities in the United States. Petitioners with an interest in the additional H2B visas should consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately for case-specific guidance on the applicable rules and regulations.

You may read the text of the final rule here [PDF version].

We discuss Work Visas generally in a distinct section of the website [see category].

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DHS and DOL Make Available 30,000 Additional H2B Visas for FY 2019