HR Alert

USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap for First Half of Fiscal Year 2017

Certain Petitions Continue to Be Accepted

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the first half of Fiscal Year 2017.

Background
The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. A statutory numerical limit, or "cap," mandated by Congress, is imposed on the total number of foreign nationals who may be issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status during a fiscal year.

For workers seeking employment in the first half of the current fiscal year (October 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017), the "cap" was 33,000, with a petition receipt deadline of January 10, 2017.

Petitions Exempt from Cap
USCIS has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the cap for the first half of the current fiscal year. Therefore, USCIS will generally reject new H-2B petitions received after January 10, 2017 that request an employment start date before April 1, 2017. However, the agency will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the cap. These petitions include:

  • Current H-2B workers in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • Workers performing labor or services from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2019, in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.

Note: USCIS has announced that the cap amount for the second half of Fiscal Year 2017 is 33,000.

Click here for more details on the H-2B program.


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