The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it has reached the H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2023, which means it has received enough petitions for new cap-subject H-2B worker visas requesting employment start dates between Apr. 1, 2023, and Oct. 1, 2023. Any new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after Feb. 27, 2023, for employment start dates between these dates will be rejected.
On Feb. 27, 2023, the number of beneficiaries for whom USCIS received petitions surpassed the total number of remaining H-2B visas available for the H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2023. To allocate these visas fairly and orderly, USCIS conducted a random selection process on March 1, 2023, to select petitions from those received on Feb. 27, 2023. USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap.
The H-2B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for temporary or seasonal nonagricultural jobs. To help U.S. businesses suffering from irreparable harm or impending irreparable harm due to a lack of H-2B workers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) have jointly published a temporary final rule, increasing the numerical limit on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 64,716 additional visas for all of FY 2023.
These supplemental visas are available only to U.S. businesses that are suffering irreparable harm or will suffer impending irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition. USCIS will begin accepting petitions for these supplemental visas for employers seeking nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti with an employment start date between Apr. 1, 2023, and Sept. 30, 2023, on March 14, 2023. USCIS has already announced that it has received enough petitions to reach the cap for the additional 18,216 H-2B visas made available for returning workers for the first half of FY 2023 with employment start dates on or before March 31, 2023.
The USCIS also announced the filing dates for the second half of the fiscal year 2023. The USCIS will begin accepting H-2B petitions for employment start dates on or after October 1, 2023, on April 1, 2023. The USCIS will continue to accept petitions until the cap has been reached. However, if the demand for H-2B visas exceeds the supply, USCIS may use a random selection process to determine which petitions to approve.
Employers seeking to apply for H-2B visas for the second half of fiscal year 2023 should take note of these filing dates and begin preparing their petitions as soon as possible to ensure that they can submit their applications on time. It is also important to note that USCIS will only accept petitions for H-2B workers who are coming to the United States to perform temporary or seasonal nonagricultural work.
For more information on this announcement, visit the USCIS website.