The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) have made available another 35,000 visas for temporary non-agricultural workers to come into the country for the second part of the fiscal year 2022, known as H-2B visas.
The move has been announced by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services in a press release issued on Monday, May 16, in which it is also noted that the application procedures for these visas will be open until September 30 this year.
According to DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the additional H-2B visas will enable US employees to employ the workers they need in order to meet the demand amid what he called “a serious labor shortage.”
“The visas are accompanied by significant worker protections and provide a safe and lawful pathway for individuals to come to the United States and earn wages in jobs that are not filled by American workers,” Secretary Mayorkas said.
An H-2B visa enables employers to bring to the US foreign temporary non-agricultural workers to fill in workplaces that cannot be filled by US workers. In order for a worker to be able to apply for an H-2B visa, the same must have a sponsoring employer in the States. The latter must meet several criteria and be certified by DOL in order to bring foreign workers to the country under this type of visa.
The Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per each fiscal year, with 33,000 visas allocated in the fist half of the fiscal year and 33,000 for the second half of the fiscal year, plus any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year, if any.
Amongst the 35,000 H-2B visas set to be granted until the end of September, 23,500 of them will be allocated to workers who have previously received an H-2B visa, whereas the remaining 11,500 visas are reserved for the nationals of the following countries, including for those coming to work as seasonal workers in the US for the first time.
- El Salvador
Data by DOL show that the industries with a high prevalence of H-2B workers in 2021 were forestry, amusement, construction, food services, hotels and motels, janitorial services, and landscaping services.
An H-2B visa holder can also bring to the US his/her spouse and children under the age of 21 with an H4 visa.