Additional H-2B Visas Available for 2024


Two weeks ago, USCIS announced that they were going to make an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available for the fiscal year, for a total of 130,716. 20,000 visas will be allocated to workers from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras. 44,716 supplemental visas will be available to returning workers. 

Employers will still need to obtain a temporary labor certification from the United States Department of Labor.

This means there will be many more opportunities to hire foreign workers in hospitality, tourism, landscaping, seafood processing, and other common industries that hire foreign temporary workers. 

USCIS is also working to strengthen protections for temporary foreign workers. The Biden-Harris administration is well aware of the potential for abuse in a system that links a worker’s ability to stay in the United States to a single employer. 

Under new proposed rules, employers who violate H-2 program requirements may become ineligible to hire and employ H-2 workers. 

The proposals would also protect workers from exploitative debts and abuse, increasing consequences for violators. It would also extend grace periods for H-2 workers seeking work with a new United States employer, who are preparing for departure from the US, or seeking a change in status. The proposed rules would also make it easier for H-2 workers to adjust their status. 

Note that these proposed rules have yet to be enacted; only the new visa allocations have been put into place.

Current rules include:

  • Paying the prevailing wage, that is, the same wage that would be paid to a comparable American worker
  • Providing adequate housing and transportation to workers
  • Complying with health and safety standards

Many employers try to cut corners, such as providing “housing” that barely meets health and safety requirements or by creating fines and fees to claw money back from worker paychecks. Some are verbally abusive or sexually harassing workers, knowing workers are often reluctant to report them or involve themselves in labor disputes. 

Ideally, of course, if you are considering hiring a foreign worker, you will give thought to how you will treat them well and fairly while they are here. 

To apply for an H-2 visa, a foreign worker must have a valid job offer from a US employer who has obtained a temporary labor certification. USCIS must approve the petition. 

Want to take advantage of the new visa quota? Need help obtaining a Labor Market Certification, hiring a foreign worker, or helping a foreign worker process their application? 

Contact Hykel Law to get started today.

See also:

Who is Responsible for Paying Employment Visa Fees? 

Is It Possible to Get a Work Visa Without a Sponsorship? 

3 Questions About Immigration and Employment, Answered 

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