The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has declared that it plans to release 22,000 more H-2B visas in addition to the 66,000 H-2B visas available yearly, reserving 6,000 for the Northern Triangle nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
U.S. employers may bring foreign nationals to this nation to fill temporary, non-agricultural jobs in H-2B status. H-2B visas are depended on vigorously by the tourist, hospitality, landscaping, seafood, and construction industries. In recent years, all the visas have been used up and businesses have gone begging for more – often just to be able to remain afloat.
Yearly, 66,000 H2B visas are available, half for the winter season and a half for the summer season. These 33,000 visas are entirely inadequate for the number of jobs open for H-2B workers. For the summer of 2021, the Department of Labor got applications for a total of 98,000 workers, all vying for one of the coveted 33,000 spots. Because of the overwhelming demand, the 33,000 H2B visas were utilized by 12th February 2021. The possibility of thousands of jobs unfilled for their busiest season panicked numerous industries.
For years, employers have advocated for extra H-2B visas. Accordingly, Congress approved DHS to release more visas. In 2020, DHS planned to release an extra 35,000 visas. With 10,000 specifically reserved for nationals of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. But that was required to be postponed because of high unemployment rates resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It could be a few months before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues the final rule and obligations for employers to acquire one of the 22,000 new H-2B visas. If it is like last year, U.S. employers likely will need to perform additional recruitment before applying for the visas.