On Thursday, March 31st the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the release of an additional 35,000 H-2B visas to supplement the statutory cap of 33,000 visas. Of the 35,000 visas, 23,500 are allocated to Returning Workers and 11,500 to the citizens of El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras.
- When will I able to apply for the additional visas? We expect the rule to be published around April 15th. The rule will be available for public inspection for 24 hours before it is published. Once it is published, DHS will accept applications for five business days before deciding if a lottery is necessary.
- Do you expect a lottery will be necessary? Yes, it is likely a lottery will be necessary for the Returning Worker allocation but not for the Northern Triangle allocation. Because the pool of returning workers is limited, we believe that the vast majority of employers who request their returning workers will receive them.
- Will DHS process the applications by Group assignment? No, DHS will not process by group assignment. All petitions submitted will have an equal chance of receiving visas. If a lottery is necessary, all petitions will be randomized and will be subject to the lottery.
- I am in Group F or Group G and do not have a labor certification. How will I access the additional visas? Because we anticipate a mid-April rule publication, we anticipate that all Groups will have a labor certification by the time the rule is published and thus will be able to apply for the additional visas.