Here is the South African Chamber of Commerce in the USA update on the USCIS announcement. Today the USCIS announced that employers may file H-2B petitions for returning workers. These petitions may be filed under the FY 2021 H-2B supplemental visa temporary final rule. Employers may take this action if they are likely to suffer irreparable harm without these additional workers. A petitioner must file a new Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. As well as an approved and valid temporary labor certification. This certification must state the employment start date for the second half of the fiscal year. It must also attest that these noncitizens will be returning workers. The USCIS defines returning workers as workers who received an H-2B visa. Or, otherwise granted H-2B status in FY 2018, 2019, or 2020.
USCIS will accept petitions for returning workers until Sept. 15, 2021. Or, until they reach the remainder of the cap, whichever occurs first. The USCIS will reject any petitions that arrive after they reach this cap. The USCIS previously announced that they received enough petitions for the 16,000 visas. These visas were initially made available for returning workers under the rule. Although USCIS received requests for a substantial number of workers from the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras). The USCIS did not receive enough petitions to reach the 6,000 visas. These visas were allocated for workers from Northern Triangle countries by the July 8 deadline. According to the temporary final rule, the few remaining visas are now available to eligible H-2B returning workers. The visas are available regardless of the returning workers’ country of origin.
The allocation of 6,000 visas to workers from the Northern Triangle is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s broader efforts. The administration wants to expand legal pathways for protection and opportunity for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras nationals. USCIS received requests for a significant number of Northern Triangle workers – nearly enough to reach the 6,000 allocations. USCIS encourages employers, including those who wish to employ returning workers from the Northern Triangle countries, to file as soon as possible. This is because petitions are likely to quickly reach the remainder of the cap.
For more details on eligibility and filing requirements, see the temporary final rule and the Temporary Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2021 page.
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