The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced last week that it would nearly double the number of H-2B visas available this fiscal year.

Key Points:

  • DHS, in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL), said it would issue a regulation, making an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available for the 2023 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. The additional allotment will come on top of the 66,000 cap-subject H-2B visas that are typically available each fiscal year.
  • The H-2B supplemental includes an allocation of 20,000 visas to workers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras. Officials said the additional allotment is consistent with President Joe Biden’s commitment with Mexican President López Obrador to broaden opportunities for seasonal work and “ensure that migration is a choice and not a necessity.”
  • DHS and DOL also said they would create a new Worker Protection Taskforce designed to help ensure that employers are recruiting U.S. workers for jobs, as required, and that foreign workers are not exploited. DHS said that in the coming months, it would issue a proposed rule to strengthen protections for H-2B workers.

Additional Information: The H-2B program allows employers to hire foreign nationals to perform nonagricultural seasonal or temporary work in the U.S. DHS makes 66,000 H-2B visas available annually for workers in jobs that are subject to the H-2B cap. Half of these visas are available in the first half of the fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1, and half are available in the second half, beginning April 1. In some years, DHS makes additional visas available.

In announcing the supplemental allotment for FY 2023, DHS said that by making the additional visas available at the outset of FY 2023, it is “acting swiftly to address employers’ needs for additional seasonal workers.” The agency also said the additional allotment would reduce irregular migration. BAL will continue following H-2B program developments and will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@balprod.tegandev.com.

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