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H-2B Seasonal Temporary Worker Visa

The H-2B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to work temporarily in the United States in non-agricultural…

The H-2B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to work temporarily in the United States in non-agricultural jobs. This type of visa provides an opportunity for employers to fill temporary labor shortages with foreign workers when there are no available American workers willing or able to take the job.

The H-2B visa is valid for a specific period, usually up to one year, but it can be extended in certain cases. However, the total time an individual can stay in the U.S. under an H-2B visa is limited to three years. After that, they must return to their home country for at least three months before being eligible for another H-2B visa.

Before a foreign national can apply for the H-2B visa, they must first have a job offer from a U.S. employer. The employer also needs to meet certain criteria, including the following:

  • The employer must first obtain a temporary labor certification from the Department of Labor
  • The employer must prove that there is a temporary need for the foreign national’s services
  • The employer must demonstrate that they have attempted to actively recruit American workers, but have been unable to find qualified candidates

The H-2B visa covers a wide range of non-agricultural jobs, including hospitality and tourism, construction, landscaping, housekeeping, seafood processing, and more. The visa is specifically designed for seasonal, intermittent, peak-load, or one-time jobs. It is not intended for permanent or long-term employment.

For foreign workers, the H-2B visa offers an opportunity to gain international work experience, earn a higher income compared to their home countries, and support their families. It also allows them to learn about American culture and create connections that can be beneficial for their future careers.

Rights and Protections

H-2B visa holders are entitled to certain rights and protections under U.S. labor laws, including the following:

  • Employer must pay foreign worker the prevailing wage for their occupation and location
  • Employer must provide suitable housing and transportation
  • Foreign worker must have access to necessary tools and equipment
  • Foreign workers are covered by workers’ compensation insurance in case of work-related injuries

While the H-2B visa provides valuable opportunities for both employers and workers, it also comes with certain limitations and challenges. The visa program has an annual cap, meaning that there is a limited number of visas available each year. Additionally, the process can be time-consuming and involves significant paperwork, and this visa also does not provide a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship. Even so, the H-2B visa remains an important pathway for temporary work opportunities in the U.S. At US-ILC, we can help employers and foreign workers navigate the challenges of obtaining an H-2B visa.

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