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Business Immigration

US Government Increases H-2B Worker Visas to Address Labor Shortages

In a joint announcement, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) have published a temporary final rule to provide an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for fiscal year 2024. This allocation is in addition to the standard annual cap of 66,000 H-2B visas. These visas are essential for industries such as hospitality, landscaping, seafood processing, and more, where seasonal and temporary workers play a vital role in meeting consumer demand.

This move aligns with the Biden Administration’s commitment to expanding lawful migration pathways as an alternative to irregular migration, in accordance with the Los Angeles Declaration for Migration and Protection.

To assist U.S. businesses in workforce planning, these supplementary visas will be available from the beginning of fiscal year 2024. Concurrently, protections for both U.S. and foreign workers are being reinforced, with a focus on ensuring that employers prioritize the recruitment of American workers for available job positions.

The additional H-2B visas include an allocation of 20,000 visas for workers from specific countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. An additional 44,716 visas will be allocated to returning workers who have previously received H-2B visas or H-2B status over the past three fiscal years. These visas will be distributed semiannually to address seasonal labor needs.

For detailed information on specific allocations and to submit petitions under this rule, please refer to the USCIS Texas Service Center. It is important to note that petitions submitted elsewhere will not be accepted, and filing fees will be refunded.

This development represents a significant step in addressing labor shortages in critical sectors while maintaining robust protections for workers in the United States.

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