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The H-2B Visa is a temporary non-agricultural work permit available to applicants who are coming to the United States. They are for skilled and unskilled workers, unlike the H-1B visa which is for highly skilled workers in “specialty occupations.” The H-2B program requires the employer to attest to the Department of Labor that they will offer a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage, applicable federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage, OR local minimum wage to the H-2B nonimmigrant worker.
Qualifications for a H-2B Visa Petitioner
There are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work in the United States.
Employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers
Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary.
The employer’s need is considered temporary if it is:
- Recurring seasonal need: Work regularly tied to a season;
- Intermittent need: Work when an employer doesn’t have full-time staff and needs occasional workers;
- Peak-load need: Work during busy periods for the employer when additional staff is needed;
- One time occurrence: Work needed during a short, one time period.
Period Of Stay
Generally, the USCIS may grant those on an H-2B status up to the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification. Those may be extended for qualifying employment in increments of up to 1 year each. The maximum period of stay in H-2B classification is 3 years.
How to Apply for an H-2B Visa
Step 1: Petitioner submits a temporary labor certification application to DOL
Step 2: Petitioner submits Form I-129 to USCIS
Step 3: Prospective workers outside the United States apply for visas and/or admission.
There is a statutory numerical limit, or “cap,” on the total number of noncitizens who may be issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status during a fiscal year. Currently, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30). Any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year will be available for employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year. However, unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year do not carry over into the next. Once the H-2B cap is reached, USCIS may only accept petitions for H-2B workers who are exempt from the H-2B cap. For additional information please contact our office to assure that you can still apply.
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