U.S. reaches H-2B cap for the first half of fiscal year 2008

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United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on 01 October 2007 that is had received enough H-2B petitions to reach the congressionally mandated cap for the first half of fiscal year 2008 (FY2008).

The H2B visa is available to employers of foreign non-professionals (unskilled workers) not working in the agricultural field. This visa is only available for temporary work.

27 September 2007 is the "final receipt date" for new H-2B worker petitions requesting employment start dates in the United States before 01 April 2008. The "final receipt date" is the date that USCIS determines that it has received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of 33,000 H-2B workers for the first six months of FY2008.

Under current law, returning workers who counted towards the caps during FY2004, FY2005, or FY2006 are exempt from the FY2007 H-2B cap. However, the U.S. Congress has not reauthorized or extended the "returning worker" provisions for FY2008 which expired on 30 September 2007.

Because of this, USCIS is counting all petitions requesting H-2B workers for new employment with an employment start date of 01 October 2007 or later toward the FY2008 H-2B cap.

USCIS will apply a computer generated random selection process to all petitions it has received that are subject to the cap. If a petition is not selected, USCIS will reject the petitions and return the fee.

USCIS will also reject petitions for new H-2B workers seeking employment start dates before 01 April 2008 that are received after 27 September 2007.

Petitions for workers who are currently under H-2B status do not count towards the bi-annual H-2B cap. USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the stay of a current H-2B worker in the United States
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-2B workers and extend their stay
  • Allow current H-2B workers to change or add employers and extend their stay