The Departments of Homeland Security and Labor published a final rule on July 19, 2017 that increased cap on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of the federal government’s 2017 fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2017.
This is a one-time increase that will not extend to other fiscal years. It is available to businesses that are likely to experience “irreparable harm” (permanent and severe financial loss) without the ability to employ all of the H-2B workers they request.
This is a high threshold for employers to meet and, while the addition of 15,000 visas is a step in the right direction, the changes are not enough to meet demands for seasonal labor nationwide, and are a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
In addition, the final rule also added an attestation to be submitted by the employer that affirms, under penalty of perjury, that its business will likely suffer irreparable harm if it cannot hire all the requested H-2B workers before the end of the fiscal year.
More information, including how to file an H-2B petition, can be found in a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service memo here.
The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance will continue to fight for cap increases and changes to the H-2B nonimmigrant visa program that make it friendlier to manage for northern Michigan businesses struggling to find seasonal labor.