With the H-2B cap numbers for the second half of the 2009 fiscal year being reached last month, there has been very little noise made for the H-2B work visa. However, even with the lack of new information in the H-2B realm, there are still many interesting and exciting things happening in the world of seasonal labor certification.
Let’s begin with the most talked about news of the month. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on February 06, 2009, published its notice of designating countries eligible for H-2B visa program. On December 19, 2008, DHS published in the Federal Register a final rule: ‘Changes to Requirements Affecting H-2B Nonimmigrants,’ which provided that the Secretary of Homeland Security will publish a list of designated countries whose nationals can be the beneficiaries of an approved H-2B petition and are eligible for H-2B visas. This initial list is to be composed of countries that are important for the operation of the H-2B program.
The DHS, in accordance with its final rule, published the list of countries that are important for the operation of the H-2B visa program and are cooperative in repatriation of its citizens, subjects, nationals or residents who are subject to a final order of removal from the United States. Thus, DHS has found the following countries to be eligible to participate in the H-2B program:
This notice does not affect the status of foreign nationals who currently hold H-2B nonimmigrant status. The changes in the H-2B visa program became effective January 18, 2009.
On the political front, as Barack Obama assumes the presidency, one of the biggest challenges in front of him is ‘to stimulate the US economy’. He will have to take decisive action to restore confidence in American business to stop mass layoffs.
President Obama, in his Weekly Conferences, on Saturday, February 7, 2009, remarked that the country suffered its largest one-month job loss in 34 years. Approximately 600,000 jobs were lost in January 2009 taking the number to more than 3.6 million jobs since this recession began. Thus President Obama has developed a simple recovery plan. He said:
‘Let us put Americans to work, let them do the work, which they needs to be done. It will save or create more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, all across the country – 16,000 in Maine, nearly 80,000 in Indiana – almost all of them in the private sector, and all of them jobs that would help US recover today, and prosper tomorrow. Jobs that upgrade classrooms and laboratories in 10,000 schools nationwide – at least 485 in Florida alone – and train an army of teachers in math and science, jobs that modernize the US health care system, not only saving billions of dollars, but countless lives, jobs that construct a smart electric grid, connect every corner of the country to the information superhighway, double the capacity to generate renewable energy, and grow the economy of tomorrow, jobs that rebuild the crumbling roads, bridges and levees and dams, so that the tragedies of New Orleans and Minneapolis never happen again.’
The President’s plan also includes immediate tax relief for the struggling middle class, protects health insurance, and provides unemployment insurance for those who've lost their jobs. And it would also help states and communities avoid painful tax hikes or layoffs for teachers, nurses, and first responders.
That's what is at stake with this plan: putting Americans back to work, creating transformative economic change, and making a down payment on the American Dream that serves both the present and future generations.
Let us have a glimpse of President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan:
President Obama believes that if we do not act quickly, this recession could linger for years – and America could lose the competitive edge that has served as the foundation for its strength and standing in the world.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will jumpstart job creation and long-term growth by:
- Doubling the production of alternative energy in the next three years.
- Modernizing more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills.
- Making the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years, all of America’s medical records are computerized.
- Equipping tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries.
- Expanding broadband across America, so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world.
- Investing in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries.
On January 8th, 2009 -- less than two weeks before taking office -- President Obama spoke on the need for urgent action on his American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan to save or create over 3 million jobs while investing in priorities like health care, energy, and education that will jumpstart economic growth. The plan represents not just a new policy, but a new approach to meeting the most urgent challenges. The package developed by Congress should do just this.
President Obama is taking strong measures to safeguard the US economy, and to encourage the immigration system of the country by fixing the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.
Thus, in this period of economic turndown and layoffs, it is highly advisable to seek legal help if you are applying or intending to apply for workers under the H-2B temporary visa. Contact ExpressH2B if you have any questions regarding H-2B temporary nonagricultural visas. Our expert and experienced attorneys will be pleased to assist you.
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DHS’ Notice of H-2B Eligible Countries
The DHS, in accordance with its final rule ‘Changes to Requirements Affecting H-2B Nonimmigrants’ published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2008, has published the list of countries that are important for the operation of the H-2B visa program and are cooperative in repatriation of its citizens, subjects, nationals or residents who are subject to a final order of removal from the United States.
H-2B Labor Certification – The First Step in the Process for Temporary Employment of Foreign Nationals in the United States
The H-2B labor certification program establishes a means for U.S. employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers, to bring temporary nonimmigrant foreign workers into the U.S. The H2B visa classification requires the employer to obtain a temporary labor certification issued by the Department of Labor. The article talks in detailed about applying for temporary labor certification to employ foreign nationals to perform services for which qualified authorized workers are unavailable in the United States.
Full Article | Read
Questions and Answers
What is the process if an employer needs to extend the period of need for H-2B workers?
Ans:If there are unforeseen circumstances where the employer’s need exceeds one year, a new application for temporary labor certification is required for each period beyond one year. However, an employer’s seasonal or peak load need of longer than 10 months, which is of a recurring nature, will not be accepted.
H2B Myths and Reality
Myth: I did not get my H-2B visa because the cap for that particular year has been reached even though I used the premium processing. I heard USCIS will refund my money that I spent on my H-2B premium processing as I did not get the visa.
Reality: No, this is not true. Premium processing is just a way to speed a decision in a case. Whether you receive your visa or not, it doesn’t matter. The USCIS will not refund your money.
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|Winner of the THE H2B QUIZ - January 2009:
Can anyone who is in the US on H-2B Visa Status, travel in and out of US freely?
|The Winning Response:
|Yes, a foreign national holding a valid H-2B visa, can freely travel in and out of the US.|
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