Capitol Hill

Interest in H-2B visas grows

With federal immigration policy remaining unsettled and state and local governments passing antiimmigration laws across the U.S., NRCA has been experiencing an increase in inquiries regarding the H-2B visa program. The H-2B visa program is a temporary non­agricultural seasonal worker program used by construction, forestry, ski resorts, hotels, restaurants, landscaping, housekeeping and other industries to supply them with guest workers.

The H-2B process requires approval of petitions and applications from four government agencies during a 120-day period. Between 60 and 120 days before a temporary worker is needed, an employer must process a Labor Certification Application with its local work force agency. When the process is complete, the application is sent to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), which will generate the actual certification.

DOL reviews the application to determine whether sufficient recruitment took place by the employer to hire U.S. citizens and whether the wage is high enough to ensure there will be no adverse effect on wages paid to U.S. citizens in similar positions. If DOL determines qualified U.S. citizens are not available and the applicant's temporary employment will not adversely affect the domestic work force, DOL will certify the application and return it to the employer.

The employer includes this certification when filing an H-2B petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security. If USCIS is satisfied with the information filed, it will approve the petition provided the H-2B visa program's annual cap of 66,000 visas per federal fiscal year has not been reached; the federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

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