H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers
The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. A U.S. employer, or U.S. agent as described in the regulations, must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on a prospective worker’s behalf.
The H-2B nonimmigrant program permits employers to hire foreign workers to come to the U.S. and perform temporary nonagricultural work, which may be one-time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent. There is a 66,000 per year limit on the number of foreign workers who may receive H-2B status during each USCIS fiscal year (October through September). As of November 2006, the cap for the first six months of fiscal year 2007 had been reached. Workers already in H-2B status and returning H-2B workers do not count towards the cap.
Who May Qualify for H-2B Classification
To qualify for H-2B nonimmigrant classification, the petitioner must establish that:
- There are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
- The employment of H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
- Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary. The employer’s need is considered temporary .
- one-time occurrence – A petitioner claiming a one-time occurrence must show that it has:
- Not employed workers to perform the service or labor in the past, and will not need workers to perform the services or labor in the future; or
- An employment situation that is otherwise permanent, but a temporary event of short duration has created the need for a temporary worker. or
- seasonal need – A petitioner claiming a seasonal need must show that the service or labor for which it seeks workers is:
- Traditionally tied to a season of the year by an event or pattern; and
- Of a recurring nature.
- Subject to change; or
- Considered a vacation period for the employer's permanent employees. or
- peakload need – A petitioner claiming a peakload need must show that it:
- Regularly employs permanent workers to perform the services or labor at the place of employment;
- Needs to temporarily supplement its permanent staff at the place of employment due to a seasonal or short-term demand; and
- The temporary additions to staff will not become part of the employer's regular operation.
- intermittent need – A petitioner claiming an intermittent need must show that it:
- Has not employed permanent or full-time workers to perform the services or labor; and
- Occasionally or intermittently needs temporary workers to perform services or labor for short periods.