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H-2B Visas Still Available for Second Half of FY2009 and First Half of FY2010

September 8, 2009


The USCIS has recently updated the count of H-2B visa received and counted towards the FY2010 employment.


The H-2B visa can be used in the following circumstances:

  1. U.S. employers can use the H-2B to employ temporary workers to deal with peak load, seasonal or intermittent needs.
  2. U.S. employers can also use the H-2B to employ temporary workers due to a one-time occurrence.


H-2B workers are frequently used to 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 allocation of 66,000 visas into two halves. From FY 2010, an H-2B petition may not be filed more than 120 days before the date of the actual need for the H-2B worker's labor/services identified on the labor certification. Typically USCIS receives H-2B petitions with employment start dates in October and April.


H-2B numerical limit set by Congress:

There are 66,000 H-2B visa available each year:

  1. 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning October 1 - March 31 in the 1st half of the fiscal year

  2. 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning April 1 - September 30 in the 2nd half of the fiscal year.


Those who are currently on an H-2B visa who extend their stay in H-2B status will not normally be counted against the annual H-2B cap. New petitions will be counted against the H-2B cap.


On August 6, 2009 USCIS announced that it had reopened the filing period for fiscal year 2009. There are still visas available for the second half of fiscal year 2009. However, these petitions must be filed and adjudicated by 30 September 2009. Therefore, there is little time in which to apply. USCIS is currently accepting petitions for the 2nd half of fiscal year 2009 and the 1st half of fiscal year 2010.


Please find below the latest USCIS chart for H-2B petitions for fiscal year 2010.


Cap Type Cap Amount Beneficiaries
Target (1)
Total Date of
Last Count
H-2B 1st Half 33,000 11,196 3,968 47,000 15,164 8/21/09
H-2B 33,000 (2) --- --- --- --- ---
2nd Half           Argentina


(1) Refers to the estimated numbers of beneficiary applications needed to reach a cap, with an allowance for withdrawals, denials and revocations.


(2) A shortfall in the 1st half would be made up in the 2nd half.



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