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.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on November 18, 2020, that it received enough petitions to reach the congressionally mandated cap on H-2B visas for temporary nonagricultural workers for the first half of fiscal year 2021. November 16, 2020, was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2021. USCIS will reject new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after November 16 that request an employment start date before April 1, 2021.
USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap, including the following types:
- Current H-2B workers in the United States who are extending their stay and, if applicable, changing the terms of their employment or changing their employers;
- Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
- Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2029.
USCIS noted that 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 (October 1 through 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 through September 30).