DHS Increases H-2B Visa Allotment and ICE Extends I-9 Flexible Measures

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a temporary final rule to make available an additional 22,000 H-2B non-agricultural visas, while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would extend I-9 flexible measures.

On 25 May, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a temporary final rule to make available an additional 22,000 H-2B non-agricultural visas for the remainder of the current fiscal year. The temporary final rule was included in the 25 May issue of the U.S. Federal Register.

The additional visas are available to those employers who attest that their businesses will suffer irreparable harm if they do not hire additional employees using an H-2B visa. The temporary rule also invokes the time-limited authority of DHS to allow H-2B visa holders already in the U.S. and have submitted a H-2B petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) to begin working prior to their petition being approved.

The additional 22,000 visas will be available until 30 September and the portability of visa holders in the U.S. to initiate employment will end on 22 November.

Also, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would extend I-9 flexible measures to 31 August. This guidance allows employers operating remotely due to COVID-19 to verify employee documents virtually. It also includes guidance for employers hiring employees on or after 1 June 2021, exempting these employees from physical inspection requirements until they resume non-remote employment. The guidance, now extended to 31 August, was scheduled to expire 31 May.

Read More

How This Impacts Mobility

Service providers to workforce mobility such as household goods moving companies as well as other Worldwide ERC® members rely on H-2B visa holders to augment their workforce to facilitate the relocation of employees. The additional available visas will provide these companies and other service providers vital to workforce mobility with access to additional employees necessary to fulfill their missions. Additionally, the extended I-9 flexibility will allow employers to continue carrying out normal operations while complying with COVID-19 safety precautions. For any questions about this topic or other policy issues, please contact Worldwide ERC® Vice President of Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters at rpeters@worldwideerc.org.