H2B Visa for Qualified Workers 2/4

Posted on March 27, 2007 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

H-2B as an Option for Companies in Need of Qualified Workers 2/4

In the previous article, we have analyzed the challenges a lot of small and medium sized companies are faced with, as the U.S. federal government has stepped up to enforce the immigration law in work places recently.  The U.S. government’s efforts in this regard was best explained by the fact that the U.S. government has unprecedentedly filed formal charges against several U.S. companies, including Tyson Foods, for hiring illegal immigrants.  While the U.S. government’s efforts are clearly exposed, it has put a lot of companies into dilemma.  In order to remain competitive and survive in the industry, on one hand some of the employers have no choice but to hire some workers who are not clearly authorized to work.  This is especially compelling in the construction and restaurant industries where it is estimated that more than 20% of the workers in those industries are illegal aliens.  On the other hand, once they were found to have hired illegal immigrants, they have to face monetary sanctions or even criminal consequences in worst situations.  Due to this, it is getting more and more important for the employers, especially those small or medium sized companies, to know the better ways to bring foreign workers to legally come and work in the United States.
Over the years, H-2A has been widely known by employers as a reasonable option to bring agricultural workers into the United States to work.  Unknown to a lot of companies, especially for the companies that are not in the agriculture industry, H-2B visa provides a viable solution for them.  This category allows both skilled and unskilled workers to be employed in a temporary or seasonal position that is not in agriculture.  The following are several key issues that need to be understood by those who are interested in H-2B.

1. Quota restriction

No more than 66,000 H-2B visa petitions may be approved each fiscal year that ends on September 30.  This number doesn’t include accompanying spouses and children.

2. Beneficiary Qualification

For foreign workers who are beneficiaries of H-2B visa, they qualify for H-2B visa if they are coming to the United States to accept a temporary or seasonal nonagricultural job from a U.S. employer and that they have the correct background or skills or natural abilities needed by that employer.  To obtain an H-2B visa, it must be shown that there are no qualified U.S. workers available to take the job which the foreign workers have been offered.

3. Definition of “Temporary”

The term “temporary” refers to the employer’s need for the duties performed by the position, regardless of whether the underlying position is permanent or temporary.  Seasonal laborers, workers on short-term business projects and those who come to the United States as trainers of other workers commonly qualify for H-2B visas.  H-2B visas are also frequently used for entertainers who cannot meet the criteria for O or P visas.

As a final requirement, foreign workers are required to return to their home country when their H-2B visa expires.  Normally, H-2B visa allows a foreign worker to come into the U.S. to work for less than a year.  Nevertheless, when situation requires, the visa can be extended.  However, the foreign worker can be allowed to work in the U.S. one time for no more than three years.

This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.