SA Chamber USA H-2B Visa update – Under the recently announced H-2B supplemental cap temporary final rule, the USA USCIS has received enough petitions to reach the cap for the additional 16,000 H-2B visas made available for returning workers only. The USCIS continues to accept petitions for H-2B nonimmigrant workers for the additional 6,000 visas allotted for nationals of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador (collectively called the Northern Triangle).
USCIS began accepting H-2B petitions on May 25 under the temporary final rule increasing the cap by up to 22,000 additional H-2B nonimmigrant visas through the end of the fiscal year (FY) 2021. Of the 22,000 additional visas, 16,000 were available only for returning workers.
In the first five business days of filing, we received petitions for more beneficiaries than the additional 16,000 visas made available for H-2B returning workers. Following DHS regulations, a computer-generated process was used to randomly select petitions to meet the 16,000 returning worker allotment for FY 2021. The random selection included all H-2B cap-subject petitions filed under the H-2B returning worker allotment that were received between May 25 and June 1. USCIS will reject and return any cap-subject petitions for H-2B returning workers (not including those filed under the Northern Triangle allotment) received after June 1, together with any accompanying filing fees.
Petitioners whose workers were not selected for the 16,000 returning worker allotment are encouraged to refile for workers from the Northern Triangle countries while visas for that allotment remain available. The final date for filing petitions requesting Northern Triangle nationals who are exempt from the returning worker requirement is July 8, 2021. If fewer than 6,000 beneficiaries are requested toward the visas set aside for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries, USCIS will announce by July 23, 2021, that the remaining visa numbers will be made available to beneficiaries regardless of nationality, subject to the returning worker limitation.
USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions for workers filing under the Northern Triangle allotment, as well as those that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes petitions for: