By N24 Correspondent, WASHINGTON DC:- The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received enough petitions to meet the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2021.
According to a USCIS statement, February 12, 2021, was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before October 1, 2021.
“We will reject new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after February 12 that request an employment start date before October 1,” said the statement.
On February 12, the number of beneficiaries for whom USCIS received petitions, surpassed the total number of remaining H-2B visas available for the H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2021. In accordance with regulations, the USCIS determined that it was necessary to use a computer-generated selection process intended to ensure the fair and orderly allocation of H-2B visa cap numbers available, without exceeding the FY 2021 cap.
On February 17, the USCIS conducted the selection process to randomly select petitions from those received on February 12. Upon completion of this random selection process, all selected petitions were assigned a receipt date with an option for premium processing services.
The USCIS, however, will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes petitions for the current H-2B workers in the United States who wish to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment, or change their employers.
Likewise, U.S. businesses that use the H-2B program to employ foreign workers for temporary non-agricultural jobs are also included along with some other categories.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30), plus any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year, if any. Unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year do not carry over into the next fiscal year.