OFLC Issues Announcement Regarding H-2B Requests During the Second Half of FY2018

Posted to DOL's website:

January 3, 2018. OFLC Issues Public Service Announcement Regarding H-2B Requests for Temporary Labor Certification, Second Half of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018

The Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is making this public service announcement to alert employers and other interested stakeholders about the high volume of applications received requesting temporary labor certification under the H-2B visa program.

On January 1, 2018, the earliest date on which an employer seeking an employment start date of April 1 may file an H-2B application requesting temporary labor certification, OFLC received approximately 4,500 applications covering more than 81,600 worker positions. Except where a statutory exemption applies, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may only issue up to 33,000 H-2B visas for employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of FY 2018 (April 1 to September 30).

The OFLC takes each request for temporary labor certification seriously and administers the labor certification program in a manner that protects the wages and working conditions of both H-2B and U.S. workers who support the seasonal workforce needs of U.S. small businesses, consumers, and communities. We are working as expeditiously as possible to issue first case actions, review responses to Notices of Deficiency (NODs), and issue Notices of Acceptance where possible. First case actions are taken on a first filed basis and responses to NODs are evaluated in the order in which they are received.

Background on Statutory Limit of H-2B Visas

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) set at 66,000 the annual number of aliens who may be issued H-2B visas or otherwise provided H-2B nonimmigrant status by the DHS to perform temporary non-agricultural work. Up to 33,000 H-2B visas may be issued in the first half of a fiscal year (October 1 to March 31), and the remaining annual allocation will be available for employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 to September 30). If insufficient petitions are approved to use all H-2B numbers in a given fiscal year, the unused numbers cannot be carried over for petition approvals in the next fiscal year.

On December 21, 2017, the DHS United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the first half of the annual number of H-2B visas for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 was reached and, except where a statutory exemption applies, USCIS will reject new H-2B petitions requesting an employment start date on or before March 31, 2018. In accordance with the INA, USCIS will accept new H-2B petitions for the remaining 33,000 visas available for FY 2018 where the employer has received a temporary labor certification from the DOL and requests an employment start date on or after April 1, 2018.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 18010330.