The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) made 35,000 additional H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker visas available for the second half of the fiscal year 2022. The 23,500 set aside for returning workers who received H-2B status within the past three years have been used. However, 11,500 visas for returning or non-returning workers from Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, and El Salvador are still available. The additional visas were to help American businesses meet their labor demands and increase the legal pathways available for workers wanting to work in the United States.
The H-2B visa program permits employers to hire foreign workers to perform temporary, non-agricultural jobs in the United States. The positions must meet the following requirements:
If a U.S. employer wants to hire H-2B workers, they must advertise and attempt to recruit U.S. workers for the open positions. If the employer fails to recruit U.S. workers, they can apply to their State Workforce Agency (SWA) for a temporary labor certification. Once completed, the case will be transferred to the DOL to be approved.
If the DOL approves the request, the employer must apply via Form ETA-9142B and pay the required fees. Employers also have the option of paying a foreign labor recruiter.
Many employers have had difficulty filling jobs due to current labor shortages. This difficulty has caused many employers to consider hiring H-2B workers to fill their seasonal or temporary positions.
However, those employers considering this option need to consider how this will affect their insurance. Employers that hire H-2B workers must:
An employer’s existing insurance may not cover the added risk of these obligations, so they must review their insurance policies to ensure their risk profile remains low. This review includes knowing how to contact the workers’ emergency contacts and updating training materials for non-native speakers to understand. Managers must also ensure H-2B workers understand and follow safety protocols to prevent accidents.
Employers hiring H-2B workers must complete Form I-9. However, filling out Form I-9 may be complicated because of the many documents workers can present. The best way to complete Form I-9 without potentially costly mistakes is to use an electronic I-9 management tool, which guides employers through the verification process and ensures hiring personnel knows which documents are acceptable for proving work authorization.
Ensure compliance today by switching to an electronic I-9 management tool with I-9 Compliance.