H-2b visa cap 2024 for returning workers

The H-2B Visa Cap for Second Half of FY 2024

April 26, 2024 | xpath.global

The annual H-2B visa cap for returning workers in the second half of the fiscal year 2024 has been reached. This announcement was made by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), signaling an important development in the immigration sector.

The H-2B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

H-2B Cap for FY 2024 

USCIS has received enough petitions to meet the additional 19,000 H-2B visas that were made available for returning workers for the early second half of fiscal year (FY) 2024. The visas were open for workers with start dates from April 1 to May 14, 2024, under the H-2B supplemental cap temporary final rule (FY 2024 TFR).

Hence, the final receipt date for these petitions was April 17, 2024. This was the final opportunity for employers to request supplemental H-2B visas under the FY 2024 early second half returning worker allocation.

Acceptance of H-2B Petitions Continues

Despite reaching the cap, USCIS will continue accepting petitions for H-2B nonimmigrant workers for the additional 20,000 visas. These visas are allotted for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica (country-specific allocation). These workers are exempt from the returning worker requirement.

Starting from April 22, 2024, USCIS will begin accepting petitions for workers for the late second half of FY 2024. These petitions request employment start dates from May 15 to Sept. 30, 2024.

More details on the FY 2024 supplemental visas is available on the Temporary Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2024 page.

The Cap for the Second Half of FY 2024

On March 7, 2024, USCIS announced that the H-2B cap had been reached for the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2024. Petitions received after this date will be rejected. However, USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the cap.

USCIS also announced filing start dates for the supplemental H-2B visas that remain available for the second half of FY 2024.

  • For companies looking to hire nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica on March 22, 2024. The USCIS will start accepting petitions seeking an employment start date from April 1, 2024, to September 30, 2024.
  • On the same date, USCIS will start accepting petitions for 19,000 visas made available to returning workers.
  • On April 22, 2024, USCIS will start accepting petitions for 5,000 visas made available to returning workers.

What Lies Ahead

After September 16, 2024, or after the applicable cap has been reached—whichever occurs first—USCIS will no longer accept petitions.

With the H-2B cap reached, it is essential for employers to stay informed and adopt strategic approaches. As the situation around the H-2B cap unfolds, employers should keep an eye out for new developments. Consult an immigration attorney for guidance on the best course of action.

Conclusion

In conclusion, navigating the complex landscape of H-2B visas can be challenging. It is essential for employers to stay updated with the latest developments to make informed decisions. With the H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2024 reached employers should be prepared to adapt.

The H-2B visa program plays a crucial role in addressing labor shortages in the U.S. As such, reaching the visa cap can have significant implications for businesses that rely on these visas. It is therefore crucial for employers to understand the latest developments in this area and plan accordingly.

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