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
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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