The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) have announced a joint temporary final rule to increase the number of H-2B temporary visas for fiscal year 2022. This rule would make an additional 20,000 visas available. The additional visas are designated for U.S. employers that can demonstrate that they are or will suffer irreparable harm if they do not receive all the H-2B workers they requested in their petition and which they need to fill positions on or before March 31, 2022. Of the total visas, 13,500 visas are available only to returning workers who received a H-2B visa during one of the last three fiscal years. The remaining 6,500 visas are exempt from the returning worker requirement and are reserved for the Northern Central American Countries and Haiti.The rule also grants some H-2B nonimmigrant workers already in the United States to begin employment with a new H-2B employer or agent once USCIS receives a timely filed, non-frivolous H-2B petition but before the petition is approved. The full rule can be found here.
This supplemental visa release does not address the urgent need for more visas for jobs starting April 1 or later. The advocacy effort for second-half cap relief continues.