H-2B cap reached for second half of FY 2021

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Indians not eligible for H-2B visas for non-agricultural temporary or seasonal jobs.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received enough petitions to meet the congressionally mandated cap for H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural jobs for the second half of fiscal year 2021.

Currently Indian and Bhutanese passport holders are not eligible for H-2B visas for jobs which are temporary or seasonal in nature and for which there is a shortage of US workers.

The immigration agency said Wednesday it will reject new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions received after Feb. 12, the final receipt date for  such visa that request an employment start date before Oct. 1.

On Feb. 12, the number of beneficiaries for whom USCIS received petitions surpassed the total number of remaining H-2B visas available for the H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2021, it said.

In accordance with regulations, USCIS said, it determined it was necessary to use a computer-generated selection process intended to ensure the fair and orderly allocation of H-2B visa cap numbers available, without exceeding the FY 2021 cap.

The agency said on Feb. 17, it conducted the selection process to randomly select petitions from those received on Feb. 12.

Upon completion of this random selection process, all selected petitions were assigned a receipt date and USCIS began premium processing services.

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap.

This includes petitions for:

Current H-2B workers in the United States who wish to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;

Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and

Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from Nov. 28, 2009, until Dec. 31, 2029.

US businesses use the H-2B program to employ foreign workers for temporary non-agricultural jobs.

Congress has set the cap for H-2B visas at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (Oct. 1 – March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – Sept. 30) plus any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year, if any.

Unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year do not carry over into the next fiscal year, USCIS said.


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