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H-2B is a Resource for Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers

The H-2B and H-2A visas are programs to fill labor gaps in various industries in the United States.  The H-2A visa is for agricultural sectors, while the H-2B visa is designed for temporary workers in non-agricultural industries.  The H-2B visa program allows U.S. employers to bring in nonimmigrant workers for temporary non-agricultural services or labor, such as hospitality, landscaping, construction, or seasonal jobs when they cannot find qualified U.S. workers, so foreign workers could have the opportunity to work in the U.S. for a specified period.

The H-2B visa program provides a reliable source of temporary workers to meet an employer’s fluctuating demands.  The program contributes to the U.S. economy by supporting businesses that might otherwise struggle to find sufficient labor during peak seasons.  By maintaining the H-2B visa program, job opportunities are created not only for foreign workers but also for U.S. workers in industries that rely on the program.  The H-2B visa program has a statutory cap on the number of visas available each year, with half of the cap allocated for the first half of the fiscal year, from October 1 to March 31, and the other half for the second half, from April 1 to September 30.

To file applications for the H-2B visa, U.S. employers must demonstrate a temporary need for additional workers.  This could be due to a seasonal spike in business, special events, or other time-limited situations.  Employers are also required to obtain a temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the DOL determines the prevailing wage based on local standards.  Em-ployers must pay H-2B workers the prevailing wage for the occupation and location. Additionally, hiring H-2B workers should not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers and the H-2B visa applicants must demonstrate that they intend to return to their home country once their H-2B employment ends.

Once the H-2B visa expires, many visa holders wonder if there are any ways to stay in the U.S. legally.  While the H-2B visa is temporary in nature, there are several options to extend their stay or transition to other immigration statuses in the U.S.  In some cases, the H-2B visa holders may be eligible to extend their status.  This typically involves the employer filing a new labor certification and visa petition on behalf of the worker.  Extensions are generally granted if there is a continued need for the worker’s services.  The H-2B visa holders may also explore other visa categories that align with their qualifications and intentions, such as H-1B Visa, F-1 Student Visa, or Family-Based Visas.

Each individual’s circumstances are unique, and seeking legal advice is important to making decisions about your immigration journey in the U.S.  To ensure that you adhere to all USCIS guidelines and minimize potential risks, it is recommended that you seek guidance from an experienced immigration attorney.  The attorneys at Tanner Law Offices can assist you with your case process or need more information. Please contact our office at 717-836-0471 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.