Blog Post

All you need to know about the recent H-2B visa changes

July 6, 2021

As we enter recovery, there is a national shortage of workers and the US Chambers of Commerce is calling for a doubling of quotas for employees from abroad, but are you ready for the work that entails?

Less than a month after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) filed a Temporary Final Rule increasing the H-2B visa quota by 22,000 workers for this year, the US Chambers of Commerce has said this does not go far enough in helping provide beleaguered industries with additional workers.

The H-2B non-agricultural visas cover the hospitality, construction, retail sales, food and processing, amusement and recreation industries and are capped at 66,000 every year.  However, thenumber can increase at DHS and DOL discretion when more applications are received.

Bigger boost to visa numbers

After the recent increase, The Department of Homeland Security is calling for  additional 22,000 temporary, non-agricultural worker visas as well as doubling the cap on employment-based visas and doubling the quota on H-1B and H-2B visas.

Not so complex processes

But filing an H-2B visa is not a simple process. To sponsor this visa, employers have certain pre-requisites, apart from the unavailability of local resources:

  • The employment must be a one-time occurrence while the employment situation is permanent and the need for a temporary worker exists. (or)
  • Employment must be listed as seasonal, occurring at a particular time every year (or)
  • Cater a sudden spike in requirement (or)
  • Intermittent need for a short duration.

But not all countries are eligible, especially given the status of the pandemic. You can find an updated list here.

And it’s not just the list of countries that keeps changing. The USCIS has just recently noted that companies can resubmit previously rejected H-2B visas if the requested start date was after October 2020. Also, it has launched an H-2B Employer Data Hub, which provides information about employers or agents who are petitioners for H-2B visas.

Expert resource on tap

With the calls to double the numbers of workers allowed into the US, and the Biden-Harris administration attempting to ease the way for greater levels of immigration, filing these visas – especially in greater numbers  – is going to take law firms and internal legal teams huge swathes of time – or new resources.

Given the complexity involved and the constant updates from USCIS, many law firms and petitioners are turning to external resources as an effective and efficient solution.

Using a third-party expert allows legal teams to turn on and off the resource as required – suiting temporary demands and seasonality of visa applications.  This flexibility also negates the need for capital expenditure on additional employees, who may only be required during seasonal times and take time to train.

Instead, legal teams get a scalable resource at their fingertips with experts on hand who know the visa process inside out – even with all the recent changes – and who can ensure the right people are secured from abroad to help your client or your business thrive.

Look no further for your immigration needs: Exigent is the leading ALSP partner to immigration law firms​ because we have a 98% success rate and process more than 25,000 visa petitions annually​. Learn more!