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DHS opts to expand number of H-2B visas for this year

Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a decision it has made regarding H-2B visas. These visas are for temporary non-agricultural workers.

The decision regards this fiscal year’s cap for these visas. As we noted in a past post, earlier this year, Congress authorized the federal government to expand the cap this year beyond the traditional 66,000 mark. Last week, the DHS announced that is has indeed decided to expand the number of available H-2B visas this year.

How big is this expansion? The DHS has opted to make 15,000 more H-2B visas available. As a note, to be eligible to pursue these additional visas for workers they wish to hire, employers will have to show that not being able to turn to foreign workers to fill positions would cause them irreparable and permanent harm.

Timing can be very important when it comes to new employment immigration options. How soon a given new option is made available could impact how likely it is to actually help employers in the way it is intended. So, among the questions that come up in connection to the DHS’ recent decision is whether it came soon enough to help companies concerned that they would not be able to have their labor needs met without hiring foreign seasonal workers and that the H-2B cap would keep them from being able to hire such workers.

Timing can also be a critical matter when an employer is pursuing an employment immigration option. How promptly a company acts in connection to such an option can be very impactful. For one, it could impact whether or not the option is still available to it, as some such options are first-come, first-served in nature. The additional H-2B visas the DHS recently opted to make available fall into this category. Also, how promptly an employment immigration issue is addressed could impact how likely it is that the resolution of the issue would happen quickly enough to be able to meet a given employer’s goals. Additionally, there can be many important deadlines in employment immigration matters.

When a business is pursuing employment immigration options in connection to foreign workers it desires to hire, skilled immigration lawyers can advise it on what sorts of timing concerns are present and what steps can be taken to address these concerns.

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