HR Alert

One-Time Increase in H-2B Visa Cap Announced for 2017

Cap Increased by Up to 15,000 Additional Visas

Pursuant to recent congressional action, the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor are temporarily increasing the limit on the number of H-2B visas available to certain U.S. employers by up to 15,000. This increase will expire on September 30, 2017 and does not affect the H-2B program in future fiscal years.

Who Can Petition for Additional Visas

Only American businesses that are likely to experience irreparable harm (that is, permanent and severe financial loss) without the ability to employ all of the H-2B workers that they request on their Form I-129 petitions for fiscal year 2017 may file under the one-time increase in the H-2B cap.

How to File an H-2B Petition

To file an H-2B petition under the temporary cap increase, an employer must generally:

  1. Meet all existing H-2B eligibility requirements, including having an approved, valid, and unexpired Temporary Labor Certification (TLC);
  2. Conduct a fresh round of recruitment for U.S. workers if the TLC contains a start date of work before June 1, 2017;
  3. Submit an attestation (see Appendix A for a sample attestation) in which the employer affirms, under penalty of perjury, that its business will likely suffer irreparable harm if it cannot hire all the requested H-2B workers before the end of the fiscal year; and
  4. Submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

Filing Deadline

USCIS will stop accepting petitions under this one-time increase on September 15, 2017, and will reject any petitions received after that date or after the cap is reached, whichever is earlier. In addition, petitions not approved before October 1, 2017 will be denied and any fees will not be refunded.

Click here for more information.

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