H2B Visa

H2B VisaThe H2B visa program is for nonimmigrant work visa for temporary non-agricultural workers. In order to be eligible for an H2B visa, the H2B worker must be from a country that participates in the H2B program. The H2B category has an H2B visa sponsorship requirement, which means that a person seeking H2B status must have an employer file a Form I-129 petition on his or her behalf. The employer must obtain temporary labor certification for the position before filing the Form I-129. An H2B visa is valid for the length of time that the position is certified for. The H2B employer may file a Form I-1129 for an H2B visa extension on the beneficiary’s behalf. H2B visa extensions may be granted in 1-year increments so long as the total length of time on H2B status does not exceed 3 years.

Secretary Kelly Approves One-Time Increase of H2B Cap by 15,000 for End of Fiscal Year 2017

On July 19, 2017, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Labor released a joint temporary rule in the Federal Register (FR) titled “Exercise of Time-Limited Authority To Increase the Fiscal Year 2017 Numerical Limitation for the H-2B Temporary Nonagricultural Worker Program.” After consulting with the Secretary of Labor, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly opted to use his one-time statutory authority to authorize the issuance of an additional 15,000 H2B visas through the end of fiscal year 2017. The one-time increase was authorized by a recent continuing resolution to fund the federal government through the rest of fiscal year 2017. The FR notice makes clear that the increase will not affect the H2B program in future years. In this article, we will briefly examine the new final rule and what it will mean for H2B employers and H2B workers for the rest of fiscal year 2017.

OFLC Posts Weekly H2B Processing Updates on iCERT

On February 19, 2016, the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) announced that it would begin “disclosing case processing information [for H2B applications] through [the] iCERT System … which will be updated at least weekly.”

Changes to the H2B Program for FY 2016

On December 18, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 114-113) into law. It contains provisions affecting the H2B non-agricultural visa program. The Department of Labor Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) released an “Emergency Guidance” on December 29, 2015, to quickly create policies for implementing the changes to the H2B statutes. This article will discuss the changes to the H2B program and how the OFLC has indicated that the changes will be implemented.

H2B Visas

Employers in the U.S. who wish to bring over foreigners as temporary workers can do so by taking advantage of the H-2B program. This program allows the employers to petition for individuals overseas and have them lawfully working in the U.S. for a given period of time. With the H-2B program, employers or agents in the United States can bring workers from overseas to fill temporary, nonagricultural positions. However, the employer or agent needs to meet certain eligibility requirements and file a petition for nonimmigrant worker (I-129 form) on behalf of the potential worker.