USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap for First Half of FY 2016

May 13, 2016

By Immigration Group

This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Laura Danielson is an active member.

On March 21, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2016. March 15, 2016, was the final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2016.

Except as noted below, USCIS will reject new H-2B petitions that were received after March 15, 2016, and that request an employment start date before April 1, 2016.

USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes:

  • For FY 2016 only, workers identified as “returning workers” who were previously counted against the annual H-2B cap during FYs 2013, 2014, or 2015;
  • Current H-2B workers in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
  • Fish roe processors, and fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • Workers performing labor or services from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2019, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.

USCIS said that to avoid processing delays, petitioners who are including H-2B returning workers on their petition must complete and include the H-2B Returning Worker Certification and are encouraged to write “H-2B Returning Workers” prominently on the envelope and any cover page.

The USCIS announcement is here