The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will allow an additional 15,000 H-2B temporary worker visas to be issued during this fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.
The H-2B program allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers for seasonal, non-agricultural positions. In past years, roughly half of the visas have gone to landscaping businesses.
The department announced it will publish a rule in the Federal Register this Wednesday to authorize the expansion and spell out related requirements. Employers are expected to be able to apply for the additional visas once the rule has been published.
Companies seeking to use the program will face increased scrutiny in their petitions for workers. Employer applicants must already hold a temporary labor certification (TLC) from the Department of Labor and will be required to attest that their business will likely suffer “irreparable harm” if they do not have access to additional workers.
Many employers that have relied on H-2B workers for peak or seasonal business needs when local labor isn’t available – including those in the construction sector – were shut out from the program when the cap of 66,000 visas was reached extremely early this year in March.
NAHB continues to press Congress and the Department of Homeland Security for expansion of the program – including reinstatement of an expired provision that would exempt workers from being counted towards the annual cap if they came into the US on an H-2B visa in any of three prior years– so that more companies in the construction sector will be able to access temporary labor.
For more information, contact Alexis Moch at 800-368-5242 x8407.