The recently announced supplemental H-2B visa allocations for Fiscal Year 2024 aim to meet seasonal labor demands strategically. The distribution is divided into specific periods and categories to address different scenarios.
First Half of FY 2024 (October 1 to March 31): An immediate availability of 20,716 visas is designated for returning workers who held H-2B status in FY 2021, FY 2022, or FY 2023, irrespective of nationality. Petitions for this period must request employment start dates on or before March 31, 2024.
Early Second Half of FY 2024 (April 1 to May 14): For this period, 19,000 visas are reserved for returning workers who were issued H-2B visas or held H-2B status in the specified fiscal years. Petitions during this phase must request employment start dates ranging from April 1, 2024, to May 14, 2024.
Late Second Half of FY 2024 (May 15 to September 30): Allocating 5,000 visas, this phase caters to returning workers from FY 2021, FY 2022, or FY 2023. Employment start dates for petitions in this period should fall between May 15, 2024, and September 30, 2024.
Entirety of FY 2024: A total of 20,000 visas are set aside for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. This allocation is not limited to returning workers, and employers can file petitions for employment start dates in the first half of FY 2024 immediately after the rule's publication.
The H-2B program allows employers to hire noncitizens temporarily for nonagricultural labor or services. Employers must follow stringent procedures, including labor market testing and Department of Labor certification, to ensure the unavailability of qualified U.S. workers and protect the wages and conditions of domestic workers. The maximum stay in H-2B classification is three years, with a mandatory three-month departure before seeking readmission.
To safeguard both U.S. and H-2B workers, the rule includes protective provisions. Petitions for supplemental allocations under this rule must be filed exclusively at the USCIS Texas Service Center, with petitions filed elsewhere resulting in rejection and fee refunds.