March 6 2020 09:48 AM

The visas will be made available in two batches: 20,000 starting April 1 and a second batch starting May 15.

The Department of Homeland Security will make 35,000 supplemental H-2B temporary worker visas available for the second half of fiscal year 2020.

The allocation also comes with new conditions to protect American workers, provide relief to seasonal employers who truly need it, and reduce fraud and abuse in the program.

Of the released H-2B visas, 10,000 are specifically designated for nationals of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, in support of these countries’ efforts to work with the U.S. to stem the flow of illegal migration in the region and encourage lawful migration to the U.S.

The Department is taking significant steps to promote integrity in the program, combat fraud and abuse, and ensure the supplemental allocation aligns with the national interest.

Reform measures include:

  • Requiring matching start dates on an H-2B petition and the employer’s start date of need;
  • collaborating with the Department of Labor on increased employer site visits; and,
  • generally limiting the supplemental visas to returning workers, who are known to follow immigration law in good faith.

This year’s supplemental allocation was determined after extensive consultation with stakeholders, including members of Congress and the Department of Labor, and is intended to strike a balance that benefits American businesses and American workers.

The supplemental visas will be made available in two batches to prevent a small handful of employers from using all the visas: 20,000 for start dates beginning April 1, and 15,000 for start dates beginning May 15.

Further details regarding this year’s H-2B allocation will be contained in a Temporary Final Rule that DHS aims to complete and publish as soon as possible.