The H-2B visa program helps U.S. employers who are unable to find workers in the U.S. to bring workers from abroad to the U.S. for non-agricultural jobs. Employers who wish to bring non-agricultural workers to the U.S. need to file Form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Worker, for those workers and sponsor them. U.S. employers can bring non-agricultural workers on H-2B visas if they establish that there are not enough workers in the U.S. to fill the vacant positions. H-2B workers can be hired for non-agricultural jobs at beach resorts or at amusement parks.
There is an annual numerical limit on the total number of foreign workers who may receive H-2B visas during a particular year. USCIS has now reached the H-2B visa cap for the first half of Fiscal Year 2014. USCIS received applications for H-2B visas until March 14, 2014. Since the agency has reached the cap, it has stopped accepting new H-2B petitions. It will no more accept visa applications from employers who request an employment start date prior to 1st April, 2014.
Currently, the U.S. Congress issues 66,000 H-2B visas per fiscal year. 33,000 visas will be allocated for employment during the first half of the fiscal year and another 33,000 visas during the second half of the fiscal year. These visas are valid for a year and the holders of these visas can extend their visas in one year increments.
There are some workers who are exempt from the cap. USCIS will continue to accept applications from such workers who are exempt from the annual cap. USCIS will continue to accept applications filed for current H-2B workers who are applying to extend their stays and applications filed by fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and supervisors of fish roe processing. Immigrant workers performing labor in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam are also exempt from the cap.