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H-2B Cap for First Half of FY 2021 reached

H-2B program

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 –

Andorra Argentina Australia Austria Barbados Belgium Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Canada
Chile Columbia Costa Rica Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Ecuador El Salvador Estonia Fiji
Finland France Germany Greece Grenada Guatemala Honduras Hungary Iceland Ireland
Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Kiribati Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg North Macedonia
Madagascar Malta Mexico Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Mozambique Nauru The Netherlands Nicaragua
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
Switzerland Taiwan Thailand Timor- Leste Tonga Turkey Tuvalu Ukraine UK Uruguay

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.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to the USA, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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