H-2B visas permit qualified U.S employers or agents to bring foreign nationals to the United States for temporary or seasonal non-agricultural employment. The jobs that typically fall within this visa classification include, but are not limited to, hospitality workers, hotels/motels, chefs, resorts and theme park workers, ticket sales, cruise ships, construction workers, maintenance, janitorial, ski resorts, landscaping, golf courses, water parks, security, ride operators, restaurants and bars, warehouse, and retail stores
To qualify for H-2B nonimmigrant classification, the U.S petitioning employer must demonstrate that:
- There are insufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
- Hiring H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
- The need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary.
Petitioners are required to submit a valid, temporary Labor Certification from the U.S Department of Labor with the visa application. Generally, USCIS may grant H-2B classification for up to the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification. H-2B classification may be extended for qualifying employment in increments of up to 1 year each. A new, valid temporary labor certification covering the requested time must accompany each extension request. The maximum period of stay in H-2B classification is 3 years.
With certain exceptions, H-2B holders who have been in the in the U.S for the maximum allotted 3-year period must depart and remain outside the United States for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before seeking readmission as an H-2B nonimmigrant. Additionally, previous time spent in other H or L classifications counts toward total H-2B time.
Currently, the U.S Congress has set the H-2B numerical limit or “cap” at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30). Any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year will be available for U.S employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year. However, unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year do not carry over into the next. Certain H-2B workers, such as fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and supervisors of fish roe processing and workers among others, are exempt from the cap
H-2B workers may bring their immediate family members (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) for admission to the U.S in H-4 non-immigrant classification. However, family members are not eligible for employment in the United States while in H-4 status.
Contact a Skilled Business Immigration Lawyer for More Information*
Gold Law Group assists clients with a wide variety of business-related immigration matters including H-2B visas. If you are a foreign worker interested in obtaining an H-2B visa, or if you are a U.S employer wishing to file a petition on behalf of a prospective foreign worker, visa please call 323.394.1281 or contact our firm online to schedule a consultation.
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