The congressionally mandated H-2B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2017 has been met, according to USCIS. The final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting employment start dates before October 1, 2017 was March 13, 2017 and USCIS has reportedly received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the cap.
The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals overseas to fill temporary jobs in non-agricultural fields of work and the cap is in place because there is a numerical limit on the number of foreign nationals who may be issued an H-2B visa per year. Because the cap for FY 2017 has officially been met, USCIS will now begin rejecting new H-2B petitions received after March 13, 2017, requesting an employment start date before October 1, 2017.
Petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap will however continue to be accepted. The following types of petitions are considered to be exempt:
- H-2B workers with a current status in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers.
- Fish roe processors, technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing.
- Workers performing labor or services from November 28, 2009 until December 31, 2019, in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.
More information on the H-2B program and how the cap count works can be found on the USCIS website.