U.S. businesses will be able to hire up to 15,000 additional temporary non-agricultural workers under the H-2B program following a final rule that the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor submitted to the Federal Register this week. To qualify for the additional visas, petitioners must attest, under penalty of perjury, that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm if it cannot employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers during fiscal year (FY) 2017. It was determined there are not enough qualified and willing U.S. workers are available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses in FY 2017.
Congress gave Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly the discretionary authority to address the lack of available temporary workers and provide this one-time increase to the congressionally set annual cap.
H-2B visas are used for temporary, non-agriculture workers at a variety of businesses, including racetrack grooms and handlers. The government offers 66,000 such visas a year, with the 2017 cap having been met within the first 30 days of open enrollment. This left many organizations without access to the critical labor pool provided by the H-2B program.
Starting this week, eligible petitioners for H-2B visas can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA with their petition.
A new tip line to report general H-2B abuse and employer violations has also been established.
Details on eligibility and filing requirements are available in the final rule and on the One-Time Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2017. This page also includes information on how individuals can report abuse in the program.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov.