Federal immigration law provides that where certain fields of employment lack sufficient available workers to fill needed job spots, such defined positions may be filled by foreign workers on a temporary basis. Specifically, the H-2A and H-2B Visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively. USCIS only approves H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. However, the USCIS may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is determined to be in the interest of the United States.
The USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security, after consulting with the State Department just released its new list of the 68 countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Visa programs: This notice does not affect the status of beneficiaries who currently are in the United States in H-2A or H-2B status unless they apply to change or extend their status. Each country’s designation is valid for one year from Jan. 18, 2015.
Foreign agricultural workers can apply for H-2A visas which may be either temporary – for one year – or seasonal for the length of a particular growing or harvesting season. Temporary non-agricultural workers can apply for H-2B visas which will generally last for no more than one year; however, in some instances, such workers can apply for such a visa for a period of three years where the worker can get the visa as a “one-time occurrence”. In these situations, the worker cannot get a renewal of their temporary visa as they can with the seasonal and temporary one-year visas.
It is advisable that employers needing to hire such workers as well as petitioning employees consult with local immigration counsel to learn about the application process and to pursue hiring and/or employment under these available programs.
The Shulman Law Group, LLC has successfully prepared and filed many petitions on behalf of its clients who wish to work in the United States or hire foreign nationals. Its comprehensive experience in the field enables the firm’s attorneys and professional staff to understand what information and materials needs to be produced in order to ensure petitions receive appropriate consideration. The firm’s excellence is fortified by its rigorous determination to ensure that all procedural matters are properly addressed.