The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that it would publish a regulation to make available an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural work visas for the 2023 fiscal year. The visas will be added to the standard annual allotment of 66,000 H-2B visas issued each fiscal year. The supplemental visa allocation will address the need for seasonal workers in areas where too few U.S. workers are available, such as in the tourism and hospitality, landscaping, and food processing industries. The supplemental increase applies only to fiscal year 2023 and will not impact the H-2B program in future fiscal years.
The anticipated regulation will also include provisions designed to protect both U.S. and H-2B workers, including additional scrutiny for labor law violators. Additionally, DHS and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) jointly announced the creation of the new H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce to address potential issues with the H-2 program more broadly. The Taskforce will focus on threats to the integrity of the H-2B program, specifically those related to the vulnerabilities of H-2B workers in abusive employment situations, as well as “the impermissible use of the program to avoid hiring U.S. workers.”
The temporary regulation is expected to be published in the next few weeks. DHS will establish filing requirements for the additional H-2B visas and detail the proposed U.S. and H-2B worker protections.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor these and other policy developments and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.