USCIS has announced that they have received enough petitions for H-2B seasonal, non-agricultural nonimmigrant workers to reach the annual limit for FY2017. That means that with limited exceptions, no H-2B petitions filed by employers after March 13, 2017 for seasonal jobs starting prior to October 1, 2017 will be accepted by USCIS.
Only 33,000 H-2B visas are available annually for spring/summer seasonal employees from abroad, for the entire country, and those visas are being exhausted earlier each year. The cap for FY 2015 was reached in June of that year, and last fiscal year’s cap was reached in May. With visas running out a full two months earlier this year than last, the H-2B visa program is becoming an increasingly unworkable solution for seasonal non-agricultural employers, such as the hospitality industry in Maine.
Maine employers who need seasonal foreign workers to supplement their staff during the spring/summer whose H-2B petitions were not received by USCIS by March 13, 2017, should see whether one of the exceptions to the cap applies. The USCIS announcement and specified exceptions can be found here.