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USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap for First Half of FY 2021

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Citizenship and Integration Grant Program

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has acquired enough petitions to arrive at the legislatively mandated cap on H-2B visas for temporary nonagricultural workers for the first half of the fiscal year 2021. November 16 was the last receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1st, 2021. USCIS will reject new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after Nov. 16, that request an employment start date before 1st April 2021.

On 16th Nov 2020, the number of beneficiaries USCIS received petitions for exceeded the total number of remaining H-2B visas available for the H-2B cap for the first half of FY 2021. In accordance with guidelines, USCIS decided it was important to utilize a computer-generated process. It is commonly known as a lottery, to guarantee the reasonable and orderly allocation of H-2B visa numbers to meet.

However not surpass the cap for the main portion of FY 2021. On Nov. 18, 2020, USCIS conducted a lottery to randomly select petitions from those received on Nov. 16. Subsequently, USCIS assigned all petitions selected in the lottery the receipt date of Nov. 18. Premium processing service for petitions selected in the lottery also started on that date.

H-2B Cap | Types of Petitions

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are excluded from the legislatively mandated cap. This includes the following sorts of petitions:

  • Current H-2B workers in the U.S. who are extending their remain and, if applicable, changing the conditions of their employment or changing their employers;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. Or potentially Guam from 28th November 2009, until 31st December 2029.

[Fewer US F1, H1B, and L1 visas issued to Indians in 2020]

U.S. businesses utilize the H-2B program to hire foreign workers for temporary nonagricultural occupations. At present, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 for every fiscal year. With 33,000 for workers who start work in the primary portion of the fiscal year (Oct. 1 – March 31) and 33,000 (plus any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year) for workers who start employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – Sept. 30).

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