In a major development for businesses across the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it will make an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker visas available for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. This represents a substantial increase over the congressionally mandated 66,000 H-2B visas that are typically available each year.
The additional visas are being made available in response to strong demand from American businesses for temporary workers, particularly in industries such as hospitality, landscaping, and seafood processing. These industries often rely on H-2B workers to fill seasonal labor shortages that cannot be met by the domestic workforce.
Country-Specific Allocation and Returning Worker Provision
The H-2B supplemental is expected to include an allocation of 20,000 visas to workers from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras. This country-specific allocation is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system that includes expanding lawful pathways for immigration while strengthening consequences for those without a legal basis to remain in the United States.
In addition to the 20,000 country-specific allocation, 44,716 supplemental visas would be available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years. This provision is designed to ensure that businesses have access to a reliable pool of experienced H-2B workers.
Welcomed by Industry Groups
The H-2B Workforce Coalition, of which the American Rental Association (ARA) is an active member, has welcomed the announcement from DHS. In a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of Labor Juli Su, the coalition expressed its appreciation for the administration’s efforts to address the labor shortage faced by many businesses.
Significance for Businesses
The increase in H-2B visas will provide much-needed relief to businesses struggling to find workers. For many industries, H-2B workers are essential to their operations. The additional visas will help to ensure that these businesses can continue to operate efficiently and meet the needs of their customers.
The DHS announcement is a positive development for the U.S. economy. The additional H-2B visas will help to create jobs, boost economic growth, and support businesses across a wide range of industries.
The increase in H-2B visas is a significant step forward in addressing the labor shortage crisis facing many businesses in the United States. This move will provide much-needed relief to businesses and help to ensure that they can continue to operate efficiently and meet the needs of their customers.