U.S. to issue 15,000 additional H-2B visas in 2017 for temporary foreign workers

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it will authorize the issuance of an additional 15,000 H-2B visas for fiscal year 2017. to prevent U.S. companies from suffering "irreparable damage" because they have been unable to secure temporary workers.

The annual cap of 66,000 H-2B visas was exhausted in March of this year, but due to the high demand for labor and the shortage of qualified employees in the United States to fill available temporary positions, businesses in the country have pressured the government to allow in more foreign workers to meet their labor needs.

According to DHS, Secretary John Kelly determined that it was necessary to allow additional hiring of foreign workers after consulting with U.S. Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta, presented today the final rule to allow for the issuance of an additional 15,000 H-2B visas.

The increase to be carried out only once and does not affect the H-2B program for future fiscal years.

U.S. companies use the H-2B visa to bring foreign workers to the U.S. to work seasonally in hotels, fishing, spas, and landscaping, among other service industries.

Eligible businesses must declare, under penalty of perjury, that they will likely suffer irreparable harm if they are unable to hire H-2B nonimmigrant workers during fiscal year 2017.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting additional H-2B visa petitions on July 19, 2017 whose employment start dates are through September 30, 2017.

Petitions will be considered in the order they are received and until visas are exhausted.

You can read details about eligibility and filing requirements and how to report program abuses on the USCIS website. One-Time Increase to H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for Fiscal Year.