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Posted on September 15 2022

No more petitions for H2B visa as cap reached for the first half of FY 2023

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By  Editor
Updated July 25 2023

News highlights

  • The mandatory cap for the issuance of an H2B visa for the first half of FY 2023 has been exhausted.
  • The final receipt date for new H2B worker petitions was September 12, 2022.
  • USCIS is still accepting only H2B petitions that are eligible for exemptions from the cap by Congressional mandate.

USCIS has declared that it will no longer accept petitions for an H2B visa. Enough applications have been received by the USCIS, and the cap for the visa by congressional mandate has been reached for the first half of FY (Financial Year) 2023.

The number of H2B visas that can be issued a year is fixed by congressional mandate. In the present situation, only those H2B visa petitions that are eligible for exemption will continue to be accepted.

About the H2B visa

The H2B visa program is meant for temporary workers in non-agricultural occupations. It was created by the US Congress so that US employers could get to recruit non-citizens to the USA to work in non-agricultural jobs on a temporary basis.

The issuance of an H2B visa is subject to a limit set by congressional mandate, also called a “cap”. This numerical limit is set on the total number of applicants who are noncitizens who may be issued this visa. They may otherwise be granted the H2B visa status during a FY.

The current limit set by Congress on the issuance of H2B is 66,000 per fiscal year. This includes 33,000 places for workers who start to work in the US in the first half of the FY. This is the period from October 1 to March 31. The other 33,000 are for workers who start to work in the second half of the FY. This is the period from April 1 to September 30.

Any visas that are not used from the first half of the FY will be available to US employers wanting to hire H2B workers in the second half of the FY. But unused H2B visas from one FY cannot be carried over into the next year.

Exempted H2B visa categories

USCIS will keep accepting H2B petitions that are subject to exemption from the cap applied through congressional mandate. This includes petitions for:

  • H2B workers currently employed in the USA who change the terms and conditions of their job, change their employers or extend their stay in the US
  • Fish roe technicians, fish roe processors, and/or fish roe processing supervisors
  • Workers performing services/labor in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from November 28, 2009, till December 31, 2029.

Also read: Do you know the top part-time jobs available if you study in USA?

Countries eligible for H2B petitions

The approval of H2B petitions may only be granted to nationals of countries designated by the secretary of homeland security. This designation will be done with the agreement reached with the Office of the Secretary of State. Only those nationals will have the eligibility to take part in the H2B visa program.

A person who originates from a country that’s absent from the published list may only have the status of a beneficiary of an H2B petition that got approval. The decision of the Secretary of Homeland Security is essential. The Secretary must determine that it's in the interest of the US that the foreign national be the beneficiary of such a petition.

Also read: Do you know how migrants are sponsored for an H1B visa in the USA?

If you want to learn whether your nationality makes you an eligible candidate to apply for an H2B visa, do check the list published in the US Federal Register notice.

If you are willing to migrate to USA, talk to Y-Axis, the leading immigration and career consultant in the UAE.

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