For the First Time, Additional H-2B Visas Released for First Half of FY 2022

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For the First Time, Additional H-2B Visas Released for First Half of FY 2022

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For the first time ever, the Department of Homeland Security has released additional H-2B visas for the first half of the Federal Fiscal Year.  On December 20, 2021, DHS announced that it would be releasing 20,000 additional visas for those employers attempting to hire cap-subject H-2B workers with a start date of October 1, 2021 or later.

As a whole, the H-2B program allows for temporary, lower-skilled workers to be hired by U.S. employers to supplement their workforces during their busiest seasons.  There are normally only 66,000 visas available, split between those with an October 1 start date and later and those with an April 1 start date or later.  This program is heavily oversubscribed, as additional workers are always needed to help in sectors such as construction and hospitality in the busiest months of the year.  Indeed, as just announced by the Department of Labor, there were enough applications made to cover 136,555 workers with a start date of April 1, 2022.  With only 33,000 visas typically available, many employers simply cannot get the workers they desperately need.

While this announcement of additional visas doesn’t help with the perpetually oversubscribed summer season, its historic implementation signals that supplemental relief should be on the horizon for those employers not initially selected for their summer H-2B workers, and underscores just how much H-2B reform is needed.

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