H-2B Visa Expansion: FY 2024 Update

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in collaboration with the Department of Labor (DOL), has announced a significant increase in the availability of H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for Fiscal Year 2024. This expansion, adding 64,716 visas to the standard annual cap of 66,000, marks a major step forward in addressing the labor demands of American industries and reinforcing the Biden Administration’s commitment to lawful migration pathways. Please continue reading to learn more about the H-2B visa expansion for FY 2024.

The H-2B Program: An Overview

The H-2B program allows employers to hire noncitizens for temporary nonagricultural jobs in the U.S. To qualify, employers must prove the unavailability of suitable U.S. workers and ensure that hiring foreign workers will not disadvantage local labor in terms of wages and working conditions. The program is strictly temporary, with a maximum stay of three years for H-2B workers.

Why the Expansion for FY 2024?

Key sectors such as hospitality, tourism, landscaping, and seafood processing often rely on seasonal or temporary workers under the H-2B program to meet consumer demands. The supplemental visa allocation is designed to address the shortage of U.S. workers in these areas, thereby contributing positively to the American economy. This initiative will play a key part in helping businesses prepare for their peak seasons.

Specific Allocations and Returning Workers

In a significant move, 20,000 visas will be specifically allocated to workers from select Central American and Caribbean countries. Additionally, 44,716 visas will be reserved for returning workers who have previously been granted H-2B status, ensuring a balanced distribution of resources throughout the fiscal year and meeting seasonal demands effectively.

Enhanced Worker Protections and Regulations

DHS and DOL emphasize robust protections for both U.S. and foreign workers. Employers are required to prioritize hiring American workers, and safeguards are in place to prevent the exploitation of foreign nationals by certain employers. Recent proposals and a report by the H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce further bolster these protections, ensuring fair wages and safe working conditions.