More H-2B visas available now

More H-2B visas available now

The 35,000 supplemental visas will ease the labor crunch, but industry advocates are still pushing for permanent reform legislation.

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The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor have made 35,000 supplemental H-2B visas available for employers with seasonal needs beginning April 1.

These visas will be set aside for U.S. employers seeking to employ additional workers on or after April 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2022. 

“Informed by current demand in the labor market, today we are announcing the availability of an additional 35,000 H-2B visas that will help to support American businesses and expand legal pathways for workers seeking to come to the United States,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Recognizing the importance of strong worker protections, we will apply greater scrutiny to those employers who have a record of violating obligations to their workers and the H-2B program.”  

The supplemental H-2B visa allocation consists of 23,500 visas available to returning workers, who received an H-2B visa or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years. The remaining 11,500 visas, which are exempt from the returning worker requirement, are reserved for nationals of Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.  

AmericanHort welcomed the additional visas, but the national industry association wrote in a statement that it will not be enough to meet the total demand, as evidenced by Department of Labor-approved applications for temporary labor certification.

"We thank the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Labor for recognizing the need to act and urge swift publication of the temporary final rule and release of these urgently needed H-2B visas," said Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort executive vice president for advocacy, research, and industry relations. He added, "We call on Congress to do its part, and to act on permanent reform legislation such as H.R. 3897, the Returning Worker Exception Act."