From: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 08112531 (posted Dec. 15, 2008)" December 12, 2008 H-2B Cap Count On December 15, 2008 USCIS updated the count of H-2B petitions received and counted towards the H-2B cap on the USCIS website. As of December 12, 2008, 18,367 petitions have been counted towards the 33,000 cap for the second half of FY 2009. The H-2B visa category allows U.S. employers in industries with peak load, seasonal or intermittent needs to augment their existing labor force with temporary workers. The H-2B visa category also allows U.S. employers to augment their existing labor force when necessary due to a one-time occurrence which necessitates a temporary increase in workers. Typically, H-2B workers fill labor needs in occupational areas such as construction, health care, landscaping, lumber, manufacturing, food service/processing, and resort/hospitality services. The Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2005 (SOS Act) divided the annual numerical limitations of 66,000 into two halves. USCIS regulations allow for filings 6 months in advance. However, H-2B petitioners first must obtain a temporary labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). DOL regulations stipulate that the application for temporary labor certification may not be filed more than 120 days in advance of the need for the employee to ensure the accuracy of the labor market test. Thus, USCIS normally begins receiving H-2B petitions with employment start dates in October in June or July. What is the H-2B numerical limit set by Congress? The H-2B numerical limit set by Congress per fiscal year is 66,000. Generally, an H-2B worker who extends his/her stay in H-2B status will not be counted again against the numerical limit. An alien who changes nonimmigrant status to H-2B is counted against the annual H-2B cap.
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