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In an official statement released on October 13, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed that the congressionally mandated cap for H-2B visas, catering to temporary nonagricultural workers, has been reached for the first half of the fiscal year 2024. The final date for acceptance of new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions, stipulating an employment commencement prior to April 1, 2024, was October 11, 2023. Any cap-subject H-2B petitions received after this date, and seeking an employment start date preceding April 1, 2024, will be summarily rejected by USCIS.

However, it is crucial to note that USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions falling under certain exemptions from the congressionally mandated cap. These exemptions include petitions for existing H-2B workers in the United States who are extending their stay, changing employers, or altering the terms and conditions of their employment. Additionally, exemptions apply to fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and supervisors engaged in fish roe processing, as well as workers rendering labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam. This exemption specifically pertains to those who have been employed in this capacity between November 28, 2009, and December 31, 2029.

The H-2B program serves as a vital channel for U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers for temporary nonagricultural roles. The current cap, as mandated by Congress, stands at 66,000 visas per fiscal year. Within this allocation, 33,000 visas are reserved for workers commencing employment in the first half of the fiscal year, spanning from October 1 to March 31. Additionally, there are 33,000 visas available for workers starting their employment in the latter half of the fiscal year (April 1 to September 30). Any unused visa numbers from the first half of the fiscal year are included in this allocation.

For further details and comprehensive insights, interested parties are encouraged to visit the dedicated ‘Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants’┬ápage on the official USCIS website. USCIS remains committed to providing accurate and timely information to stakeholders, ensuring transparency and efficiency in the immigration process.