The H-2B cap for Fiscal Year 2017 (October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017) was reached on March 13, 2017 (in less than six months). From January 1-7, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) received 2,971 applications requesting more than 51,000 positions for the 33,000 H-2B visas available for the second half of the fiscal year. Factors contributing to the early exhaustion of H-2B numbers included Congress’ failure to include the returning worker exemption provision in December 2016. Also, DOL allowed a small number of H-2B petitions that were pending when the H-2B cap for the first half of the fiscal year was reached to amend their start date to April 1. According to DOL, only those whose original start date was March 18-31 were allowed to do this, but it is unclear how many petitions were involved. That took some visas away from the second half. The most important factor is that U.S. employers have a much greater need for H-2B workers than the artificial 66,000 visa cap set by Congress.
There are a few categories of H2-B workers who are exempt from the H2-B cap:
Despite this grim news, there are two glimmers of hope. First, additional H2-B numbers could be released. Or, there is a small chance of legislative relief. This year, Congress provided the possibility of cap relief if the Department of Homeland Security determines that the needs of American businesses cannot be satisfied by American workers. This relief is limited by not more than the highest number of H-2B nonimmigrants who participated in the returning worker program in any year in which returning workers were exempt from such numerical limitation.
The Joseph & Hall P.C. is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to blog on this subject when more information becomes available. If you have any questions, please call our office.
Congress has reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill to fund the federal government through September 30, 2017, which includes some limited H-2B cap relief. The bill provides the Secretary…
The maximum possible sentence for a criminal offense often impacts the potential immigration consequences for conviction. In particular, whether an offense has the potential to render a noncitizen deportable may…
Joseph & Hall P.C. is a full-service immigration law firm. We pride ourselves on being nationwide experts in all areas of immigration law, including the practice areas listed below. Our attorneys frequently are asked to speak both locally and nationally on a wide variety of immigration topics. For an overview of each practice area, please click the links below. If you have any questions about how these practice areas may apply to your case, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.
Countless people dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. If your application was rejected by the USCIS, we are here to fight for your best interests.
We assist entrepreneurs, business owners and investors with corporate immigration needs. We understand the urgency of these issues and work to solve the matter efficiently.
We provide a range of family immigration services to help you determine whether you qualify for citizenship.
Deportation can split your family apart and make the future uncertain. Build a solid legal defense alongside our immigration attorneys.
Get in touch with us. Write us a message.