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H-2B visa

H-2B Notice: No more visas available for temporary, non agricultural workers for work with a start date before April 1, 2015.

The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

What is the H-2B Cap?

There is a statutory numerical limit, or “cap,” on the total number aliens who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-2B status (including through a change of status) during a fiscal year. Currently, the H-2B cap set by Congress is 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the 1st half of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the 2nd half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30). Any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year will be made available for use by employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year. There is no “carry over” of unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year to the next.

Persons who are exempt from the H-2B cap

Generally, an H-2B worker who extends his/her stay in H-2B status will not be counted again against the H-2B cap. Similarly, the spouse and children of H-2B workers classified as H-4 nonimmigrants are not counted against this cap. Additionally petitions for the following types of workers are exempt the H-2B cap:

  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing,
  • From November 28, 2009 until December 31, 2019, workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and/or Guam.

Once the H-2B cap is reached, USCIS may only accept petitions for H-2B workers who are exempt from the H-2B cap.

Fiscal Year 2015 H-2B Cap Count

UPDATE: The congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2015 has been reached. Jan. 26, 2015 was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2015. The final receipt date is when USCIS received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of 33,000 H-2B workers for the first half of FY 2015. This means that no cap numbers from the first half of FY 2015 will carry over to the second half of FY 2015, which begins on April 1, 2015.

For more information about the H-2B program go to http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-2b-non-agricultural-workers/h-2b-temporary-non-agricultural-workers