H-2B Visa Announcement Imminent

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The Wall Street Journal reported on February 21 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is planning to release an additional 45,000 supplemental H-2B visas for fiscal year 2020, although the article does state that these are preliminary numbers and not final.

While we are grateful that the Administration is considering releasing more supplemental visas than last year’s 30,000, we are concerned about reports that the visas could be released in two batches: as reported, the first 20,000 may be immediately available upon the release of a DHS rule, while employers can apply for the remaining slots starting June 1.

There are some businesses with seasonal employment needs that begin later in the summer; however, the number of employers who have a date of need after June 1 is very low. Data from the Department of Labor indicate that of the 150,465 H-2B visas certified in FY 2019, only 6,454 (4%) were certified for work beginning in the 4th quarter of the fiscal year, while 91,656 (61%) were certified for an April 1 date of need. AmericanHort and the H-2B Workforce Coalition are encouraging the DHS to make a very large portion of the proposed 45,000 supplemental H-2B visas available immediately. We will continue to keep you updated as additional information becomes available.

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