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. As of 07/16/10, USCIS receipted 30,154 petitions, toward the 47,000 beneficiaries target for the second half of the fiscal year. This count includes 28,539 approved and 1,615 pending petitions.
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.
The H2B visa is available to employers of foreign workers not working in the agricultural field. This visa is only available for work that is temporary in nature. For H2B purposes, that means:
* Recurring seasonal need;
* Intermittent need;
* Peak-load need; and
* One time occurrence.
The employer must also prove that there are no unemployed US workers willing or able to do the work. This is established through the state’s employment agency using a labor certification process. This process requires a recruitment campaign, including advertising in a local newspaper for available temporary workers. The duration of the visa is limited to the employer’s need for the temporary workers. The maximum authorized period is one year. However, the employer may extend the duration of the visa up to three years — but with a very close watch from the immigration authorities.