As per a News Alert dated November 18, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS] has announced that the H-2B cap for the first half of Financial Year 2021 has been reached.
The H-2B program allows employers or agents in the US – that meet the specific regulatory requirements – to bring in foreign nationals into the country for filling up temporary non-agricultural jobs.
Currently, the H-2B cap is set at 66,000 in any financial year.
|33,000||Beginning employment between October 1 to March 31 [that is, the first half of the financial year]|
|33,000||Beginning employment between April 1 to September 30 [that is, the second half of the financial year]|
Any remaining spaces from the first half of the fiscal year will be available for the second half of that financial year. Nevertheless, unused H-2B spaces are not carried forward onto the next financial year.
With the cap limit being reached, USCIS will then only be accepting petitions on behalf of H-2B workers that are exempt from the cap.
November 16, 2020 was the final receipt date for H-2B worker petitions seeking an employment start date prior to April 1, 2021.
As the number of petitions surpassed the total remaining spaces, a computer-generated process – commonly referred to as a lottery – was conducted by USCIS on November 18.
Following the lottery, USCIS assigned a receipt date of November 18 to all petitions selected.
Despite the limit being reached, USCIS continues to take in H-2B petitions exempt from the cap. These include petitions wherein –
|Current H-2B workers in the US are extending their stay and might be changing their employers or terms of employment|
|Fish roe technicians, supervisors of fish roe processing, and/or fish roe processors|
|Workers performing services/labour in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2029.|
Countries eligible for the H-2B visa of the US
With effect from January 19, 2020, foreign nationals from the below-mentioned 81 countries are eligible for the H-2B program –
|Chile||Columbia||Costa Rica||Croatia||Czech Republic||Denmark||Ecuador||El Salvador||Estonia||Fiji|
|New Zealand||Norway||Panama||Papua New Guinea||Peru||Poland||Portugal||Romania||Samoa||San Marino|
|Serbia||Singapore||Slovakia||Slovenia||Solomon Islands||South Africa||South Korea||Spain||St Vincent and the Grenadines||Sweden|
A foreign national belonging to a country not on the list of eligible countries might be the beneficiary of an approved H-2B petition, provided that the secretary of the Homeland Security determines it to be in the US interest for the individual to be the recipient of such a petition.
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