H-2B Visa/Status – Temporary and Seasonal Workers
For seasonal or temporary and non-agricultural skilled and unskilled workers, the H-2B visa/status is available. To obtain this status, the petitioning employer must intend to employ the worker only temporarily and, furthermore, must be capable of demonstrating the temporary need of the applicant’s skills. To be considered a temporary need, one of the following conditions must typically have been satisfied: 1) a seasonal need that is recurring; 2) a need that is intermittent; 3) a peak load need; or 4) a specific need that is based on a one-time occurrence.
Annual Cap for the H-2B Visa/Status:
Only 66,000 new applicants will be approved to receive the H-2B visa/status every fiscal year. Furthermore, the annual cap is equally divided into two groups: 1) 33,000 are distributed in the first half of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fiscal year and 2) 33,000 are distributed during the second half of the USCIS fiscal year.
The first half of the USCIS fiscal year begins on the first day of October every year, while the second half of the USCIS fiscal year begins on the first day of April every year. These petitions may be filed up to six months prior to the first day of each half of the USCIS fiscal year. In 2005, all of the available H2-B visas were claimed within the first three months of the fiscal year.
As a further stipulation, the position that is being offered may not be able to be filled by a qualified U.S. worker nor may it adversely affect the working conditions of any U.S. employee who holds a similar position.
Duration of the H-2B Visa/Status:
The initial period of time granted to H-2B visa/status holders to work in the United States is largely determined by the period of time the services are needed for the temporary position. The period of time allotted under this visa/status should coincide with the length necessary to complete the temporary assignment. These positions should generally not extend beyond an initial period of one year, however extensions in increments of one additional year may be granted under special circumstances—though the total period must not exceed three years.
The spouse and children (as long as they are under 21 years old and unmarried) of H-2B primary beneficiaries are eligible for H-4 derivative status. As such, the spouse and children of the primary beneficiary may accompany him or her into the United States. Additionally, anyone with the H-4 derivative status will able to attend schools in the U.S.
There are three general steps in the application process: 1) the company that is petitioning on your behalf must file for your labor certification with the state workforce agency that has required the petitioning company to advertise for that specific position; 2) the company must then file a nonimmigrant petition with the USCIS; 3) the applicant must apply for the H-2B visa/status at a United States Consulate Office in his or her home country.
The Austin immigration attorneys at the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC charge the following in attorney’s fees for normal cases filed from within the United States at the USCIS (please take a moment to read this disclaimer), along with the fees charged by the USCIS:
- $6,000 in attorney’s fees
- $500 in attorney’s fees per worker
- The dollar amount it costs to advertise the position (this varies)
- $460 for the filing fee charged by USCIS to pay for the main petition
- $370 for the filing fee that is charged by the USCIS for the beneficiary’s application for his or her family + $85 for each family member (when applicable)
- $150 for the USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee (during initial petition)
- $1,440 for the filing fee charged by the USCIS for premium processing (optional fee)
- The dollar amount for fees charged by the Consular Office (this varies)
Consult with an Austin Immigration Attorney
At the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, our Austin immigration attorneys are extensively experienced with the representation of individuals applying for the H-2B visa/status. To discuss how one of our Austin immigration attorneys can help you, please call our Austin offices at (512) 323-2333 today.