DHS Issues Guidance Regarding Additional H-2B Visa Allocation

DHS issues guidance for H-2B allocation
December 23, 2022

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released guidance concerning the 64,716 H-2B temporary non-agricultural visas it made available for FY 2023. Employers use H-2B visas to hire foreign workers to come to the United States to perform temporary non-agricultural labor. However, the DHS limits these visas to 66,000 a year.

Over time, an increase in demand for these visas has exceeded the available amount. As a result, the DHS stated in October that it would make 64,716 H-2B temporary non-agricultural visas available for FY 2023.

The latest announcement specifies who qualifies for the visas and when they will become available.

Here are some of the details included in the announcement.

  • Twenty thousand additional visas will become available to foreign nationals from Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
  • Any employers requesting start dates in the earlier half of FY 2023 may file petitions starting after December 15, 2022.
  • Premium processing will be available starting on January 3, 2023.
  • Employers requesting start dates for the second half of FY 2023 may file fifteen days after the second half of FY 2023 reaches its statutory cap. Employers can expect a public announcement when this happens.
  • There are 18,216 additional visas available immediately for workers returning from eligible countries. However, workers must file before March 31, 2023.
  • There are 16,500 additional visas available for workers who are returning from any eligible country. However, these petitions are for employers requesting a start date for these workers from April 1, 2023, to May 14, 2023.
  • Petitions must not file any earlier than 15 days after the second half reaches its statutory cap. Petitioners can expect a public announcement when this happens.
  • There will be 10,000 additional visas available for returning workers from eligible countries. However, employers need to request a start date from May 15, 2023, to September 30, 2023. Also, the petitions cannot file until at least 45 days after the second half reaches its statutory cap. Petitioners can expect a public announcement when this happens.

Employers that file petitions under the additional allocation need to do so under the California Service Center. These employers must follow all requirements, including attesting that:

  • They are suffering or will suffer irreparable harm if they cannot hire all of the H-2B workers requested in their petition.
  • Employing the requested H-2B workers will not adversely affect the working conditions or wages of similarly employed U.S. workers.

Employers planning to hire H-2B workers should consider that they will have considerable paperwork to complete, including Form I-9. This form can prove complicated for these workers due to the frequently changing regulations for Form I-9 and the different forms of documentation these workers may present. Investing in an electronic I-9 management system is the best way to ensure compliance. This system will guide employers through the entire process and safely store the form and any accompanying documentation.

Learn more about automating your employment eligibility verification and ensuring compliance with I-9 Compliance.