DHS to Double H-2B Visas in FY2024

Increase addresses need for seasonal workers

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer November 7, 2023

​The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is doubling the number of temporary work visas used in the seasonal hospitality and landscaping industries for the second year in a row.

DHS will provide an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary worker visas for the 2024 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, on top of the 66,000 H-2B visas already available each fiscal year, split evenly between the fall/winter and spring/summer seasons.

The additional H-2B visas—bringing the total to more than 130,000—are authorized by Congress and have been pleaded for by employers in affected industries.

H-2B visas are most heavily used in the landscaping, hospitality and seafood processing industries.

Similar to last year, the H-2B visa increase includes an allocation of 20,000 visas to workers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras to expand legal pathways as an alternative to illegal migration. This year's allocation also includes visas for workers from Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador.

The remaining 44,716 extra visas will be 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.

Employers had already exhausted visas available under the normal statutory cap for the first half of fiscal year 2024, DHS said. Once the official regulations are issued, employers can make plans to find the seasonal workers they need.

"The Department of Homeland Security is committed to maintaining strong economic growth and meeting the labor demand in the United States, while strengthening worker protections for U.S. and foreign workers," said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

DHS recently proposed regulations to strengthen worker protections in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs, and the Biden administration's H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce released a report detailing new actions to be taken by federal government agencies to strengthen protections for vulnerable H-2B and similarly situated U.S. workers.

"We are using the tools that we have available to bolster the resiliency of our industries and release the maximum number of additional H-2B visas for U.S. businesses to ensure they can plan for their peak seasonal labor needs," Mayorkas said. "We also continue to take steps to strengthen protections for workers and safeguard the integrity of the program from unscrupulous employers who would seek to exploit workers by paying substandard wages and maintaining unsafe work conditions."



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