On March 31, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it has received enough petitions to fill the 23,500 additional H-2B visas made available for returning workers through the second half of fiscal year 2022.  Cap-subject H-2B petitions requesting employment dates of April 1, 2022 or later for returning workers will now be rejected by USCIS.

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petition under the following qualifications:

      • Petitions for workers filing under the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras) and Haiti visa cap allotment of 11,500, which has not been reached to date;
      • Change of employer petitions with request to extend stay in H-2B status (cap exempt);
      • Out-of-country petitions for beneficiaries who have already been counted against the H-2B Congressional limit for FY2022; and
      • Petitions for workers in the fish roe processing industry and labor services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands or Guam.

USCIS began accepting H-2B petitions under the supplemental visa cap on May 19, 2022.  Although the additional number of visas made available was more than any prior year, substantially more petitions were received than the 23,500 visas allotted.  As such, on May 27, 2022, USCIS completed a regulatory required lottery, randomly selecting petitions received in the first five business days of the filing period not to exceed the 23,500 visas available to returning workers.  USCIS made one notable procedural filing change by accepting petitions through May 25, 2022, recognizing that no petition could properly be filed on May 18, 2022, i.e., the day of the supplemental cap regulatory announcement.

We encourage seasonal employers who were not accepted under the supplemental H-2B cap for returning workers who face irreparable harm to resubmit their petitions in application for workers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti.  As in 2021, we do not anticipate the Northern Triangle and Haiti visas to be used up and employers can continue to apply under this cap through September 15, 2022.

Author

  • Yelena G. Vilk is a Senior Associate Attorney in the Green and Speigel U.S.’s Philadelphia Office. Her experience is extensive in an array of immigrant and nonimmigrant matters ranging from managing high-volume employment-based cases as well as family-based petitions. She is committed to helping U.S. companies secure and retain skilled individuals from abroad by navigating the challenging and ever-changing rules of the Department of Labor and Homeland Security.

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