Administration Set to Release 22,000 Additional H-2B Visas for FY 2021

The administration announced that on May 25, 2025, it will begin releasing 22,000 additional H-2B visas for workers filling seasonal non-agricultural positions that have start dates prior to September 30, 2021.

Following up on the initial announcement in April 2021, the administration clarified that

(s)tarting May 25, eligible employers who have already completed a test of the U.S. labor market to verify that there are no U.S. workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform the seasonal nonagricultural work can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, to seek additional H-2B workers. They must submit an attestation with their petition to demonstrate their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm without a supplemental workforce.

More details are available in the Federal Register notice and on USCIS’s H-2B Temporary Increase webpage.

While 22,000 additional H-2B visas is better than nothing, the Biden administration is unfortunately following the Trump administration’s pattern of releasing far fewer than the 69,320 additional H-2B visas that Congress authorized for the remainder of FY 2021.

Given the seasonal non-agricultural labor needs in Maine alone, for hospitality, landscaping, and construction workers, let alone across the entire country, 22,000 more visas are a drop in the bucket.   Congress needs to fix this, by removing the 66,000 annual cap on H-2B visas, in order to meet the real demand for labor to fill seasonal non-agricultural jobs in Maine and in the U.S.