US to issue 64,716 H2B visas for unskilled foreign workers for 2023

For the first time, the US has temporarily made available 64,716 additional H-2B visas meant for unskilled foreign workers for the fiscal year 2023 to ensure that American businesses can plan for their peak season labor needs, a PTI report said.

According to the report, the H-2B visas allow employers to temporarily hire foreign workers to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the US for a limited period of time such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal need, a peak load need or intermittent need.

The move by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is unlikely to make any significant impact on Indians as most of them do not opt for it.
Indians generally do not opt for H-2B visas as the majority of them migrating to the US are highly skilled professionals employed by American companies in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. H-1B visas are required for such immigrants, the report said.

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are issuing a temporary final rule that makes available 64,716 additional H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for fiscal year (FY) 2023,” the USCIS said in a press release on Monday, PTI reported.

These supplemental H-2B visas are for US employers seeking to petition for additional workers at certain periods of the fiscal year before September 15, 2023, it said.

“The Department is making supplemental H-2B visas available earlier than ever, ensuring that American businesses can plan for their peak season labour needs…these visas will also provide a safe and lawful pathway to the US for noncitizens prepared to take jobs that are not filled by American workers,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N Mayorkas said, PTI reported.

For the first half of FY 2023, there are 18,216 immediately available visas limited to returning workers regardless of country of nationality. For the early second half of FY 2023 (Apr 1 to May 14), there are 16,500 visas available and for the late second half of FY 2023 (May 15 to Sept 30), 10,000 visas will be issued, the statement said.

This is the first time the US has issued a single rule making available H-2B supplemental visas for several allocations throughout the entire fiscal year, including an allocation for the late second half, it said.