USCIS reports exhaustion of H2B visa petition cap and more

Cap reached for additional returning worker H-2B Visas for FY 2021

In the latest news on US immigration, the USCIS has received the maximum number of petitions and hence has reached the limit for the 16,000 additional H2B visas offered only to workers returning to the USA. The USCIS had recently made an announcement to implement a supplemental cap temporary final rule.

The USA is going ahead with accepting petitions for non-immigrant workers, who need an H2B visa. 6,000 additional visas have been allotted to nationals of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador (known collectively as the “Northern Triangle”).

It was on May 25, 2021, that the USCIS began accepting H2B petitions under the temporary final rule. This increased the application cap by not more than 22,000 additional visas of the H2B non-immigrant category through the last part of FY 2021.

Of the 22,000 additional visas, 16,000 were available only for workers returning to the USA. The balance 6,000 visas are initially reserved for nationals from the Northern Triangle exempt from the requirement of being a returning worker.

In the first 5 business days of filing, the petitions USCIS got exceeded the additional 16,000 visas that were made available for returning workers on H2B visa. Keeping with regulations of the DHS, the USCIS used a computer-generated process to do a selection of petitions at random to meet the allotment of 16,000 workers returning, for FY 2021.

Among those randomly selected were all H2B petitions subject to the cap. They were filed under the returning worker allotment for H2B. They were received in the period from May 25, 2021, and June 1, 2021.

The USCIS will reject and send back any petitions subject to the cap for H2B returning workers that were received after June 1, 2021. These won’t include petitions filed under the allotment for Northern Triangle. This will come with any accompanying fees for filing.

Petitioners whose workers weren’t chosen for the 16,000 returning worker allotment are being asked to file again in case of workers from the Northern Triangle countries.  At the same time, visas remain available for that allotment.

July 8, 2021, is the last date to file petitions with a request for Northern Triangle nationals exempt from the returning worker requirement. If lesser than 6,000 beneficiaries are included in the request toward the visas reserved for citizens of the countries in the Northern Triangle, USCIS will make an announcement by July 23, 2021.

The announcement will be that the balance number of visas will be made available to beneficiaries no matter what their nationality is. It will be subject to the limitation on returning workers.

The USCIS will keep on accepting H2B visa petitions for workers filing under the Northern Triangle allotment. Also accepted will be the petitions from the ones exempt from the cap that’s congressionally mandated. This includes petitions for:

  • Current H2B workers in the USA filing a petition to prolong their stay. If applicable, their employment terms or their employers can be changed
  • Fish roe processing supervisors/processors, and/or Fish roe technicians
  • Workers doing services or labor in Guam and/or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands between November 28, 2009, and December 31, 2029.

Any extra information on supplemental visas for the FY 2021 is there on the page for Temporary Increase in Non-immigrant H2B Visas for FY 2021.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to the USA, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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