U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has received enough petitions to exhaust the 30,000 additional visas for returning H-2B seasonal non-agricultural workers for positions starting in the second half of FY 2019.
USCIS will return any cap-subject H-2B petitions it received after June 5, 2019, together with the filing fees, to the petitioning employers. It will continue to accept petitions for H-2B positions not subject to the cap, as described here.
The 30,000 visas for returning H-2B workers were added to the usual 33,000 cap for the second half of the fiscal year as a result of a provision Congress included in the omnibus budget bill that ended the government shutdown in February 2019. Under the Congressional fix, the administration could have authorized over 69,000 additional H-2B visas for the remainder of the fiscal year, but chose not to do so.
Year after year, the number of H-2B available visas has fallen far short of the demand. Congress needs to create a permanent fix to the H-2B program so that it can reliably serve Maine’s, and the nation’s, employers with seasonal hiring needs.