On January 3, 2008, the USCIS announced that it had received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the 33,000 “cap” on new H-2B visas for the second half of the government's fiscal year, which starts April 1, 2008. USCIS will reject petitions for new H-2B workers seeking employment start dates before October 1, 2008. Employers seeking workers for an October 1, 2008 or later start date may apply for H-2B visas on or after April 1, 2008.
Service industries such as hospitality (restaurants and hotels), landscaping, construction, and seafood processing typically hire foreign born workers using H-2B visas for seasonal or temporary labor needs. Congress limits new H-2B visas to 33,000 every half fiscal year for a total of 66,000 a year. The fact that the cap was reached three months before the start of the half fiscal year is a signal to Congress that the current cap fails the needs of businesses who rely on this source of labor. Employers should contact their congressional representatives and urge them to pass immigration legislation that truly meets the needs of the economy.
-By Ann Massey Badmus