The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) together with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a joint temporary final rule to increase the number of H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for fiscal year (FY) 2022 making available an additional 20,000 visas. These additional visas are for U.S. employers, which attest that they are suffering irreparable harm, or will suffer impending irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition, and which need to fill positions with start dates on or before March 31, 2022.
The supplemental H-2B visa allocation consists of 13,500 visas available only to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years (FY 2019, 2020, or 2021). The remaining 6,500 visas, which are exempt from the returning worker requirement, are reserved for nationals of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador (collectively called the Northern Central American Countries), as well as for nationals of Haiti.
Returning H-2B workers have demonstrated their ability to abide by the terms and conditions of the H-2B program and, therefore, are less likely to remain in the United States and work without authorization after their legal status expires. H-2B workers often return to the same employer year after year on a seasonal basis. They are vetted and trusted and can have their visas approved more rapidly due to their known history.
The rule also grants portability to certain H-2B workers by allowing 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.
For More Information:
Additional details on eligibility and filing requirements will be available in the temporary final rule and the Temporary Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2022 webpage