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H-2B Nonimmigrant Visa Program

The H-2B nonimmigrant worker visa is subject to numerical limitations imposed by Congress. The program is capped at 66,000 visas per year and equally split between the winter and summer seasons. H-2B visas are available for individuals to perform nonagricultural work of a temporary or seasonal nature, if U.S. workers capable of performing such service or labor cannot be found in the U.S. This classification requires the Sponsoring Employer to conduct active recruitment to determine if U.S. workers are available to fulfill the temporary need.

Nonagricultural work includes Amusement Park workers; Bellhops; Bricklayers; Cannery workers; Commercial, Industrial and Residential Cleaners;Construction workers; Cooks; Crab Meat Processors; Fishing Vessel Deckhands;Dining Room Attendants; Electricians; Fast Food Workers; Forest Workers; Game Attendants; Industrial Groundskeepers; Landscapers; Kitchen Helpers; Sales Clerks; Tree Planters and the list goes on.

The laws regarding the H-2B visa are in constant flux and applicants seriously considering this category as a means of working in the U.S. on a temporary basis should stay informed and updated as much as possible. Due to the fact that an applicant’s circumstances and the circumstances of his/her dependent family members may require special attention, the following information is not tailored to any one individual but provides general information about this category.

In order to be eligible for H-2B classification, the Employer (Petitioner) should confirm that the job is temporary, that the Department of Labor (DOL) has certified that no U.S. workers are available to perform the job, that the beneficiary’s employment in the U.S. will not harm U.S. workers, and that all requirements have been met. The employer’s need for the services or labor shall be either: (1) a one-time occurrence; (2) a seasonal need; (3) a peakload need;or (4) an intermittent need. The period of employment is generally for a period of 1 year or less, but could be for a specific one-time need of up to 3 years. The foreign national must also be able to demonstrate that they have strong ties to their home country and will return at the end of the season.

Nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2B visa program: Argentina; Australia; Belize; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; Child; Costa Rica; Croatia; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Ethiopia; Guatemala;Honduras; Indonesia; Ireland; Israel; Jamaica; Japan; Lithuania; Mexico;Moldova; the Netherlands; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Norway; Peru; Philippines;Poland; Romania; Serbia; Slovakia; South Africa; South Korea; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom and Uruguay. Nationals from other countries not listed above may be eligible; however, additional evidence will be required. This is not aself-petitioning category; therefore the applicant must have a sponsoring employer in the U.S.

As with the H-1B nonimmigrant visa, the spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21 are allowed to accompany or join the H-2B worker as H-4 dependents.However, they cannot work unless they qualify for a work visa. H-4 dependents can enroll and attend schools in the U.S. without obtaining a student visa.

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