The congressionally mandated cap on H-2B visas has been officially reached for the first half of the fiscal year 2021, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced through a statement.

The final receipt date for new cap-subject for H-2B petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2021, was November 16, 2020, VisaGuide.World reports.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services also revealed that it would reject new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after November 16.

“On November 16, the number of beneficiaries USCIS received petitions for surpassed the total number of remaining H-2B visas available for the H-2B cap for the first half of FY 2021,” the statement reads.

USCIS also announced that the selection of the applications had been made through a computer-generated process, known as the lottery, in order to ensure that allocation of H-2B visa numbers is met, but not exceeded, for the first half of the Fiscal Year 2021.

“On November 18, USCIS conducted a lottery to select petitions from those received on November 16 randomly. As a result, USCIS assigned all petitions selected in the lottery the receipt date of November 18. Premium processing service for petitions selected in the lottery also began on that date,” USCIS clarified through its statement.

However, USCIS announced that it would continue to accept H-2B petitions that are excluded from the congressionally mandated cap, including the following types of petitions.

  • H-2B workers in the US who are prolonging their stay and, if appropriate, changing the terms of their employment or their employers
  • Fish roe processors, technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing
  • Workers performing labour or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2029.

The H-2B visa program is dedicated to non-agricultural workers that want to work in the US in non-agricultural jobs.

The United States authorities permit employees to bring international workers to work in the US if the employers can’t be found in the US. The procedure is done through the H-2B visa sponsors.

Internationals can then fill an application for a visa after being sponsored, in order to work in the US for a limited period.

The current cap for the H-2B visa is 66,000 visas per fiscal year. During the first part of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) there are granted 33,000 H-2B visas. Another 33,000 visas are issued during the second part of the fiscal year.

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