On July 19, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security and Labor published a final rule increasing the numerical limit (“cap”) on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2017, beyond the annual cap of 66,000 visas allotted for this current fiscal year. These visas will be available only to American businesses which attest that they will likely suffer irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition. This is a one-time increase and will expire on September 30, 2017.
In making the decision to increase the cap, the needs of Amercian businesses and other factors, including the impact on U.S. workers and the integrity of the H-2B program were considered. The rule does not apply to petitions that are not subject to the H-2B cap, including those petitions filed in connection with an H-2B extension of stay request or on behalf of certain fish roe producers. Such petitions may continue to be filed under the normal rules of the H-2B program.