WASHINGTON, DC- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) have issued a temporary final rule to provide an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for fiscal year 2024, in addition to the usual cap of 66,000 H-2B visas available annually. These visas are vital for industries like hospitality, landscaping, seafood processing, etc., which rely on seasonal and temporary workers to meet consumer demand.
This move supports the American economy and aligns with the Biden Administration’s goal to expand lawful migration pathways. By offering these visas at the start of FY 2024, businesses can plan their workforce needs. The rule also reinforces protections for both U.S. and foreign workers, including ensuring that American workers are considered first for job openings.
The supplemental H-2B visas include 20,000 allocated to specific countries and 44,716 for returning workers who had H-2B status in the past three fiscal years. These visas are distributed across the first and second halves of FY 2024 to accommodate seasonal demand.
To sum up the allocations:
• First half of FY 2024 (October 1 to March 31): 20,716 visas for returning workers, regardless of nationality.
• Early second half of FY 2024 (April 1 to May 14): 19,000 visas for returning workers.
• Late second half of FY 2024 (May 15 to September 30): 5,000 visas for returning workers.
• For the entirety of FY 2024: 20,000 visas reserved for specific nationalities.
The H-2B program allows employers to hire noncitizens for temporary, nonagricultural work in the U.S., subject to labor market testing and wage protection. Workers can stay in H-2B status for a maximum of three years and must leave the U.S. for three months before seeking readmission.
DHS and DOL prioritize protecting H-2B workers and ensuring that U.S. workers have fair opportunities. The rule specifies that petitions for these supplemental visas must be filed at the USCIS Texas Service Center, and applications elsewhere will be rejected.