US Department of Homeland Security to Issue Additional H-2B Visas this Fiscal Year

To help provide businesses with critically needed workers, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will issue an additional 22,000 H-2B visas.

On 20 April, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), after consulting with the U.S. Department of Labor, announced that it will issue a supplemental increase of 22,000 visas under the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker program for this fiscal year. This rule does not affect the H-2B program in any way in future fiscal years. The Departments have made a determination that the needs of American businesses cannot be satisfied with U.S. workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor and are providing these supplemental H-2B visas. As the U.S. economy continues to move towards a safe reopening and recovery, this action ensures that businesses that utilize these workers are equipped with adequate resources while contributing to workforce mobility.

The DHS recently engaged with American businesses who utilize the H-2B program where employers expressed critical vacancies, and a pressing and immediate need for supplemental, temporary workers to offset the danger of potential revenue loss. In response, DHS will provide an additional 22,000 H-2B visas in the coming months via a temporary final rule. Additionally, 6,000 of these visas will be reserved for nationals of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to expand lawful pathways to the U.S. under President Biden’s Executive Order 14010.

Employers wanting to access these additional visas must test the U.S. labor market and certify that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work for which they seek a prospective foreign worker; and that employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The supplemental increase will require businesses seeking H-2B workers to engage in additional recruitment efforts for U.S. workers. Employers must also attest that, if they do not receive workers under the cap increase, they are likely to suffer irreparable harm.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said, “The H-2B program is designed to help U.S. employers fill temporary seasonal jobs, while safeguarding the livelihoods of American workers. This supplemental increase also demonstrates DHS’s commitment to expanding lawful pathways for opportunity in the United States to individuals from the Northern Triangle.”

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How This Impacts Mobility

Workforce mobility is critical to the recovery of the U.S. economy as businesses take steps to rebound from the damages and setbacks wrought by the pandemic. By issuing additional temporary H-2B visas, DHS is ensuring that more American businesses can hire these critically needed workers to avoid potential or further revenue loss. In particular, these workers are helpful to those mobility employers working in relocation. Should any member have questions regarding this development, please reach out to our Vice President of Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters,