New York, Nov 20 (IANS) The US Departments of Labor and Homeland Security have announced an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker visas for FY 2024.
This allotment is in addition to the Congressionally-mandated 66,000 H-2B visas that are available each fiscal year, and permits employers to temporarily hire non-citizens to plug worker shortages in the US.
"By making these supplemental visas available at the outset of FY 2024, the Departments will help ensure US businesses with workforce needs are able to plan ahead and find the seasonal and temporary workers they need," the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this week.
The H-2B supplemental includes an allocation of 20,000 visas to workers from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras.
In addition to the 20,000 country-specific allocation, 44,716 supplemental visas are available to returning workers who received H-2B visas, or were otherwise granted H-2B status during one of the last three fiscal years.
The rule allocates these supplemental visas for returning workers between the first half and second half of the fiscal year to account for the need for additional seasonal and other temporary workers over the course of the year, with a portion of the second half allocation reserved to meet the demand for workers during the summer season.
The semiannual cap of 33,000 H-2B visas authorised under the Immigration and Nationality Act (statutory cap) for the first half of FY 2024 was reached on October 11, 2023.
These supplemental visas are available only to the US 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.