Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced on

May 25, 2018, that an additional 15,000 H-2B temporary

nonagricultural worker visas will be available for fiscal year

2018. Secretary Nielsen said she determined that there are not

enough qualified, U.S. workers available to perform temporary

nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of U.S. businesses in FY

2018. This allocation is in addition to the 66,000 visas already

issued this year. She said she made this decision after consulting

with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, members of Congress, and

business owners.

The move follows statements President Donald Trump made at a

rally on April 28, 2018, during which he said, “The

unemployment picture is so good, it's so strong, that we have

to let people come in. They're going to be guest workers.

They're going to come in, they're going to work on your

farms, we're going to have the H-2Bs come in, we're going

to have a lot of things happening but then they have to go

out.”

Secretary Nielsen said, “The limitations on H-2B visas were

originally meant to protect American workers, but when we enter a

situation where the program unintentionally harms American

businesses it needs to be reformed. I call on Congress to pass

much-needed reforms of the program and to expressly set the number

of H-2B visas in statute. We are once again in a situation where

Congress has passed the buck and turned a decision over to [the

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)] that would be better

situated with Congress, who knows the needs of the program. As

Secretary, I remain committed to protecting U.S. workers and

strengthening the integrity of our lawful immigration system and

look forward to working with Congress to do so.” Congress set

the annual H-2B visa cap at 66,000. A maximum of 33,000 H-2B visas

are available during the first half of the fiscal year, and the

remainder, including any unused H-2B visas from the first half of

that fiscal year, is available starting April 1 through September

30. On February 27, 2018, USCIS determined that it had received a

sufficient number of H-2B petitions to meet the full FY 2018

statutory cap of 66,000.

In the FY 2018 omnibus spending bill, Congress delegated

authority to the Secretary to increase the number of temporary

nonagricultural worker visas available to U.S. employers through

September 30, just as it did in the FY 2017 omnibus bill.

Details on eligibility and filing requirements are included in

USCIS guidance at

https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/temporary-increase-h-2b-nonimmigrant-visas-fy-2018.

The May 31, 2018, Federal Register rule is at

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/31/2018-11732/exercise-of-time-limited-authority-to-increase-the-fiscal-year-2018-numerical-limitation-for-the.

The earlier DHS statement is at

https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/dhs-announces-additional-visas-foreign-workers-assist-american-businesses-risk-failing.

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