On May 21, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a joint interim rule that an additional 22,000 H2B temporary visitor visas for non-farm workers are available for fiscal 2021 [link]. A press release from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) [link] to the news clarifies that these additional H2B visas will only be available to “employers who could suffer irreparable harm without these additional workers.” In addition, 6,000 of the 22,000 additional H2B visas are reserved for beneficiaries who are citizens of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Beginning May 25, 2021, employers who have completed the US labor market test to ensure that there are no willing, qualified, and capable US workers for a position that falls under the H2B program can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, about finding additional H2B workers. Consistent with the purpose of the new available H2B visas, the employer must also “provide proof with their application to demonstrate that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm without additional labor.”
Confirmation must be provided on Form DOL ETA 9142-B-CAA-4 [link]. It is important to note that appraisals are filed under penalty of perjury, which means that employers must be honest about their need for additional employees. In addition, the employer must certify that he or she is seeking to hire only returned workers unless he or she is seeking to hire an employee who is eligible for a 6000 H2B visa for citizens of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Employers hoping to take advantage of the additional allocation of the H2B visa should prepare to file Form I-129 as soon as possible and may consult with an experienced immigration attorney in the area of nonimmigrant work visas. Category] for specific instructions.