USCIS Suspends Processing of H-2B Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has temporarily suspended the processing of most Forms I-129 used for H-2B petitions for temporary nonagricultural workers.

H-2B visas are used to bring foreign nationals to the United States for a limited period of time to work in industries that require more employees during a season, such as hotel, ski resort or amusement park employees.

The U.S. government decided to suspend the processing of I-129 forms while it considers how to respond to a court order filed on March 21, 2013. This order opposes a portion of the wage rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in 2008 that determines the prevailing wage parameters.

In the meantime, H-2B applications for temporary labor certification where the wage offered by the employer is based on a prevailing wage not imposed by the court order will continue to be processed and final decisions will be issued.

Petitioners who have already filed an H-2B petition using the expedited processing service and do not receive any agency action on their case will be issued a refund within 15 days.

According to USCIS, the DOL will issue an updated wage standard within 30 days from the date of the court order. This will allow USCIS to resume adjudication of all H-2B petitions.