H-2B Visa Demand for Spring 2020 Far Exceeds Cap

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer January 9, 2020
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Employers in the U.S. filed applications for nearly 100,000 H-2B visas for 33,000 available slots, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Jan. 6.

We've rounded up resources and articles from SHRM Online and other trusted outlets on the news.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Obtaining U.S. Employment Visas]

Employers Flood the System

During the Jan. 2-4 filing window, over 5,500 employers submitted applications requesting 99,362 H-2B temporary workers. Their aim was to enter a random selection process for 33,000 visas to assist with seasonal work during the spring and summer months.

(National Law Review)

More Visas May Be Made Available This Summer

If the last three years are an indication, employers that can demonstrate that their business is at risk of failing without an infusion of foreign seasonal workers may have the chance to petition for extra help this summer. The Department of Homeland Security is authorized to issue additional H-2B visas for use in fiscal year 2020, which runs through Sept. 30. The extra visas are specifically for returning H-2B workers who held the visa in at least one of the past three fiscal years.

(SHRM Online)

The Lottery Process

Employers that want to hire seasonal guest workers with H-2B visas now must go through at least two separate lotteries to employ them. In 2019 the Department of Labor changed its procedures for processing H-2B applications for labor certification. Visa applications are randomly ordered for processing and certification. The certified petitions are then entered in another lottery held by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Labor certification ensures that employers are not displacing or negatively impacting the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers and must be obtained before employers can petition USCIS for visa approval.

(SHRM Online)

H-2B Visa Job Ad Changes Finalized

The Department of Labor published a final rule in November 2019 rescinding the requirement that employers post job ads in newspapers before hiring temporary workers from abroad under the H-2B visa program.

(SHRM Online)

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