USCIS Announces H-2B Visa Cap Reached for Early Second Half of FY 2024

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it has reached the cap for the additional 19,000 H-2B visas for returning workers for the early second half of fiscal year (FY) 2024. These visas are for workers with employment start dates between April 1 and May 14, 2024.

The final date for receiving petitions for these supplemental H-2B visas was April 17, 2024. This cap was reached under the H-2B supplemental cap temporary final rule (FY 2024 TFR).

Exceptions and Continuing Petitions

Despite reaching this cap, USCIS is still accepting petitions for H-2B visas under specific conditions:

  1. Country-Specific Allocation: An additional 20,000 H-2B visas have been set aside for workers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. These workers do not need to meet the returning worker requirement.
  1. Exemptions from the Cap: Certain H-2B workers are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. Employers can still file petitions for these exempt workers.

For more detailed information on these specific allocations, visit the USCIS page on the Temporary Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2024.

Mark Your Calendars for New Petition Dates

For those who missed out earlier, there’s another chance! Starting April 22, 2024, USCIS will start accepting petitions for workers for the late second half of FY 2024. These visas are for folks looking to start work between May 15 to September 30, 2024. There are 5,000 visas available under this allocation, meant for returning workers from fiscal years 2021, 2022, or 2023, no matter where they’re from.

Where to Find More Info

As we stated before, for more detailed information about the H-2B visa program and the supplemental visas for FY 2024, visit the USCIS Temporary Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2024 page. This page provides comprehensive details on the visa requirements, application process, and updates on visa availability.

Concluding Notes

The announcement from USCIS about the H-2B visa cap for the early second half of FY 2024 underscores the high demand for temporary foreign workers in the U.S. Employers who depend on these workers should be aware of the upcoming petition dates and the specific allocations available. By staying informed and prepared, businesses can better navigate the H-2B visa program and ensure they have the workforce they need.

This news is critical for employers and workers alike, as it impacts hiring plans and job opportunities in various industries. Keeping track of these announcements and understanding the visa process can help in planning and making informed decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is an H-2B Visa? 

The H-2B visa program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. This visa is crucial for industries that experience peak seasons and need extra workers for a short period, such as tourism, hospitality, landscaping, and construction.

What Does the H-2B Cap Mean?

The H-2B visa program has an annual limit, or cap, on the number of visas issued. Each fiscal year, only a certain number of H-2B visas can be granted. When this cap is reached, no more H-2B visas can be issued until the next fiscal year. Reaching the cap means that there are no more available visas under the current allotment, impacting employers and workers relying on this program.

Are there any H-2B visas still available for FY 2024?

Yes, there are still 20,000 H-2B visas available for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. Additionally, starting April 22, 2024, 5,000 visas will be available for returning workers for employment from May 15 to September 30, 2024.

Who qualifies as a returning worker?

A returning worker is someone who was issued an H-2B visa or held H-2B status in fiscal years 2021, 2022, or 2023.

Where can I find more information about the H-2B visa program?

You can find more information on the USCIS website under the section for Temporary Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2024.

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