This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.
On April 13, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting petitions for workers for the late second half of fiscal year (FY) 2023—those requesting employment start dates from May 15, 2023, to September 30, 2023—under the H-2B supplemental cap temporary final rule. USCIS said the 10,000 visas available under this allocation are limited to returning workers who were issued H-2B visas or held H-2B status in FYs 2020, 2021 or 2022, regardless of country of nationality. These supplemental visas are available “only to U.S. businesses that are suffering irreparable harm or will suffer impending irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition, as attested by the employer on a new attestation form,” USCIS noted.
The temporary final rule published in December 2022 increased the numerical limit (cap) on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 64,716 additional visas for all of FY 2023. Of the 64,716 additional visas, 44,716 are available only for returning workers (workers who received an H-2B visa or were otherwise granted H-2B status in one of the last three fiscal years). The remaining 20,000 visas are set aside for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti, who are exempt from the returning worker requirement. As of April 10, 2023, USCIS had received petitions requesting 11,537 workers under the 20,000 visas set aside for nationals of those countries.
USCIS said that petitions requesting supplemental allocations under the rule must be filed at the California Service Center. Such petitions filed “at any location other than the California Service Center will be rejected and the filing fees will be returned.”