USCIS Announces That the Additional Cap for Returning H-2B Workers In First Half of Fiscal Year 2023 Has Been Met

H-2B Cap Met (© Photovs |
February 16, 2023

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it received enough petitions for H-2B visas to meet the supplemental cap. This cap includes the additional 18,216 made available for the first half of the 2023 fiscal year (FY). Recently announced through a temporary final rule, these H-2B visas have start dates on or before March 31, 2023.

These employment-based visas allow employers to petition for temporary nonagricultural workers. Ordinarily, there is a congressionally mandated cap of 66,000 visas each fiscal year. However, FY2023 has seen an expansion of 64,716 visas, which the USCIS divided between the two halves of the fiscal year.

Despite reaching the cap for returning workers, the USCIS assured everyone they would continue accepting H-2B non-immigrant petitions.

This assurance comes from the temporary rule that the agency released on December 15. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor issued a joint interim final rule through this rule. It allocated 44,716 visas for returning workers and another 20,000 for workers exempt from the cap’s requirements. However, the agency clarified that they reserved 20,000 visas for El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras nationals.

Employers with workers who did not get accepted under the 18,216 allotment for returning workers have received encouragement from the USCIS to file again. The agency informed these employers that they could file under the allotment for El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras nationals. This encouragement comes with the USCIS’s announcement concerning the number of received applications. As of January 26, 2023, it has only received 4,260 applications for El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras nationals.

In addition to these petitions, the USCIS stated that it would continue accepting petitions for other individuals exempted from the regular cap, including:

  • Current H-2B workers petitioning for an extension to their stay or a change in either their employer or terms of employment;
  • Processors, technicians, or supervisors in the fish roe processing field; and
  • Individuals performing labor or services within either Guam or the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

Employers hiring foreign national workers, such as H-2B or U.S. nationals, must comply with employment eligibility verification (Form U-9) requirements. The best way to do this is by incorporating an electronic I-9 management tool into the hiring process. This tool offers uniform completion with step-by-step guidance, convenient forms and documentation storage, and reminders when action is required.

Ensure compliance today by switching to an electronic I-9 management tool with I-9 Compliance.