On April 22, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security announced that an additional 30,000 H-2B visas, pending regulatory review, will be available for the remainder of fiscal year FY2019 in addition to the 66,000 H-2B visas already authorized. The additional 30,000 visas will be available only to applicants who have held H-2B status in at least one of the past three fiscal years (2016, 2017 and 2018).
The H-2B program permits U.S. employers to hire foreign workers to temporarily work in the U.S. in nonagricultural services or labor on a one-time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent basis. Among other requirements, an employer wishing to hire H-2B workers must obtain a temporary labor certification from the Department of Labor, establishing that no U.S. workers were available for the job opportunity and that employment of H-2B worker(s) will not adversely affect wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
The H-2B program has long been a mainstay for seasonal businesses who have consistently argued the 66,000 H-2B “cap” needs to be increased, as they are unable to find enough U.S. workers during busy seasons.