U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Thursday that it had received enough petitions to reach the H-2B visa cap for the second half of the 2023 fiscal year. The agency also announced filing dates for supplemental visas.

Key Points:

  • As of Feb. 27, USCIS received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated cap of 33,000 for the second half of the fiscal year.
  • The agency will reject any new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after Feb. 27 that request an employment start date on or after April 1, 2023, and before Oct. 1, 2023.
  • USCIS will continue to accept cap-exempt H-2B petitions, including petitions for:
    • Current H-2B workers in the United States who wish 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.
    • Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.

Additional Information: In December, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor published a temporary final rule to provide a supplemental allotment of 64,716 H-2B visas for the 2023 fiscal year. Some of these visas remain available. USCIS published filing dates for the remaining visas Thursday.

  • For employers seeking nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras, USCIS will begin accepting petitions for employers requesting a start date from April 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2023, on March 14. USCIS began accepting petitions from employers with employment start dates from Oct. 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, in December 2022.
  • For employers seeking workers for the early second half of FY 2023 (April 1 to May 14), USCIS will begin accepting petitions for the additional 16,500 visas made available to returning workers regardless of country of nationality on March 14.
  • For employers seeking workers for the late second half of FY 2023 (May 15 to Sept. 30), USCIS will begin accepting petitions for the additional 10,000 visas made available to returning workers regardless of country of nationality on April 13.

BAL Analysis: H-2B visas remain in high demand. In the three-day filing period in January, the Labor Department received applications covering nearly 143,000 worker positions for 33,000 visas that will become available April 1. Employers who filed for cap-subject visas and did not receive them are encouraged to work with BAL on other options, including the possibility of applying for visas under the supplemental cap. BAL will host a webinar March 10 at 11 a.m. CT on H-2B visas and the H-2B cap. Registration details are available here.

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

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