USCIS Reaches Cap for H-2B Visas for Second Half of 2023 Fiscal Year

USCIS reaches H-2B visa cap
October 5, 2022

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received enough petitions to reach the cap for H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers for the first half of the 2023 fiscal year (FY 2023). However, the final receipt date for accepting new cap-subject H-2B petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2023, was September 12, 2022. Therefore, any cap-subject H-2B petitions the USCIS receives after September 12, 2022, for employment before April 1, 2023, will be rejected. In addition, because no visas are available from the first half of FY 2023, the cap for the second half will not increase.

However, the USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. According to the USCIS, this would include petitions for:

  • “Current H-2B workers in the United States who extend their stay, change employers, or change the terms and conditions of their employment;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2029.”

Businesses in the United States use the H-2B program to hire foreign workers for temporary work in non-agricultural sectors. It also allows employers to obtain high-skilled professionals who do not belong in the other available categories for temporary jobs.

Currently, the H-2B cap set by congress totals 66,000 per fiscal year, split between the two halves of the year. The first half of the fiscal year runs from October 1 through March 31. All unused visas then transfer into the second half of the fiscal year, which runs from April 1 through September 30. This process ensures that all 66,000 visas see use.

However, in May 2022, the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security published a joint temporary final rule. This rule increased the cap on H-2B non-immigrant visas by as many as 35,000 visas for jobs starting from April 1, 2022, through September 30, 2022.

For employers looking to hire H-2B workers, it is necessary to consider the considerable paperwork involved in the hiring process. This paperwork includes completing Form I-9. Unfortunately, this process often proves complicated because of the complex documentation requirements when confirming workers’ employment authorization. One of the best ways to simplify this process is with an electronic I-9 management tool that can guide employers through every step of the verification process. It also securely stores all paperwork and documentation for review at any time.

Streamline your hiring process with an automated employment eligibility verification and ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.