Some of the British Columbia residents who applied for a seasonal guest worker visas in 2019 were disappointed. The U.S. immigration limits the number H2-B visas it allocates each year. The annual cap is 66,000 visas made available for non-agricultural foreign workers, half of which are allocated in January for the first half of the fiscal year, and the remaining 33,000 are then allocated to applicants who will start work in the United States in the second half of the fiscal year.
However, all is not lost because the United States Department of Homeland Security announced that there would be an additional 30,000 H2-B visas available for the second half of the current fiscal year. This will allow U.S. employers to bring in additional workers to fill the positions of jobs that American citizens will not do. The department says the increased number of visas are warranted by the tightening of the labour market.
There are conditions to the application for the additional visas. Only workers who held H2-B visas during the 2016, 2017 or 2018 fiscal years will be eligible. Other eligibility requirements exist, which will be announced soon. The department reports that over 90,000 applications were received immediately upon the opening of the application window for the second half of this fiscal year.
Obtaining a seasonal guest worker visa can be a daunting task. British Columbia residents can retain the services of a lawyer who has experience in dealing with U.S. immigration issues. With legal counsel who is registered on both sides of the border, the legal and administrative steps of the process can be simplified. A lawyer will have the latest information about eligibility for H2-B visas.