The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) announced today the availability of an additional 35,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas during the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2022. These visas are for U.S. employers seeking to employ additional workers on or after April 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2022.
“These additional H-2B visas will help employers meet the demand for seasonal workers at this most critical time, when there is a serious labor shortage,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “The visas are accompanied by significant worker protections and provide a safe and lawful pathway for individuals to come to the United States and earn wages in jobs that are not filled by American workers.”
The supplemental H-2B visa allocation consists of 23,500 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 11,500 visas are reserved for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti, regardless of whether they are returning workers. The semiannual cap of 33,000 visas for the second half of FY 2022 was reached on Feb. 25, 2022.
The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire noncitizens to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. The employment must be for a limited period of time, such as a one-time occurrence, or seasonal or intermittent need. Employers seeking to hire H-2B workers must take a series of steps to test the U.S. labor market. They must provide certification from DOL that proves there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary 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 will subject employers that have committed certain labor law violations in the H-2B program to additional scrutiny in the supplemental cap petition process. This additional scrutiny is aimed at ensuring compliance with H-2B program requirements and obligations.
The joint temporary final rule can be found on the Federal Register website. Employers can begin petitioning on Wednesday, May 18.