H-2B Visa Quota Update – More Visas Available

The H2B visa allows U.S. employers to hire foreigners occupational areas such as education, construction, health care, landscaping,  manufacturing, food service/processing, and resort/hospitality services. Often these are areas where foreigners may not have university degrees. It should be noted the H2B visa does not apply to Agricultural jobs.

On Jan. 7, 2009, the USCIS announced it accepted and approved a sufficient number of H-2B petitions to meet the annual quota of 66,000 H2B visas (US Immigration year is from October to September), it has recently announced it has issued only 40,640 H2B visas for fiscal year 2009 to date.

Essentially that means that there are 25,000 potential H2B visas that are available for this FY2010 up until September 30 so the USCIS has now again accepting H2B visa applications from employers and sponsors

The advice from the USCIS is as follows regarding H2B visa processing and the limited time before the annual deadline;

“The normal (non-premium processing) adjudication time frame for H-2B petitions is 60 days.  USCIS will make visa numbers available to petitions in the order in which the petitions are filed.  However, because H-2B petitions (Form I-129) for fiscal year 2009 visas must be received, evaluated, and adjudicated on or before the fiscal year 2009 deadline of Sept. 30, 2009, USCIS cannot guarantee approval of any H-2B petition on or before the Sept. 30, 2009 deadline.  Employers therefore are encouraged to file as soon as possible and to request premium processing by filing a Form I-907 and submitting the $1000 premium processing fee, which will allow for expedited adjudication.”

By the way this also means applications not received or approved by October 1 will count towards Fy2011 cap.

To me this recommendation to pay the Premium Processing fee of $1,000 is ridiculous b/c even if your application is approved after October 1 then you will still probably get the H2B visa as it is so early in the cycle. This another example of the US Immigration system being all about money rather than fairness. Although this time it is the Government who is almost solely responsible rather than Immigration lawyers.


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