USCIS hits H-2B cap for first half of FY2020

 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reached the congressionally mandated cap on H-2B visas for temporary nonagricultural workers for the first half of fiscal year 2020.

 

However, USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the cap such as workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and Guam from Nov. 28, 2009 until Dec. 31, 2029.

 

The exemptions for these territories,  authorized under the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, apply to certain health care positions as well as for workers directly connected to, or directly associated with, the planned military realignment of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam. The FY 2019 NDAA also eliminated the annual cap of 4,000 H-2B workers for Guam and the CNMI that were permitted to use the temporary need exemption.

 

Currently, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (Oct. 1 - March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – Sept. 30). Any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year will be available for employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year. However, unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year do not carry over into the next.

 

Nov. 15 was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2020. USCIS will reject new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after Nov. 15 that request an employment start date before April 1, 2020.

 

U.S.  businesses use the H-2B program to employ foreign workers for temporary nonagricultural jobs. Currently, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (Oct.1 - March 31) and 33,000 (plus any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year) for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - Sept. 30).

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