H2B Work Visa
Further down in this Hub, I bring up the Death of the H2b Work Visa. The government has been making it more and more difficult for legitimate employers to find capable workers abroad. These changes and the ever-increasing pressure upon US-based staffing and recruitment companies has cause me to close my agency. There are still many capable companies out there that can help. I no longer make direct recommendations or referrals unless I have dealt with the company in the past, or know the recruiter personally.
If you are looking for more help than what this Hub (and my others) provide, feel free to look at some of the Google ads placed all over this page. I have heard good things about many of the companies listed, and companies willing to pay the expenses for advertising on Google and HubPages are traditionally more likely to be reliable. Click on a few of the ads (or all of them), and go through choosing the companies and/or attorney that look solid. The ones to worry about are the companies with no website, a free email address, and no phone number. I'll be doing a post on this soon, so make sure to come back and read about how to pick a recruiter.
H-2B Work Visa Employer Summary
H2B Visa Details
The H2B work visa is a status that is designated for individuals who will be employed in nonagricultural positions which are seasonal, intermittent or that can be labelled a one time occurrence. Qualifying positions include those in the Hospitality, Restaurant, Tourism, Landscaping, Construction, and other unskilled worker categories.
Spouses and children of H2B work visa holders may enter and remain in the US in H4 status. H4 visa holders may attend school in the US but are not legally allowed to be employed.
For whom is a H2B Work Visa appropriate?
US. companies hiring foreign nationals to perform temporary work for which there are no US workers are available.
What are the requirements for obtaining an H2B Work Visa?
A worker that qualifies for the H-2B work visa program is a temporary/seasonal worker coming temporarily to the United States to perform temporary/seasonal services or labor. This worker must not displace U.S. workers capable of performing the job, and whose employment is not adversely affecting the wage and working conditions of U.S. workers.
In all cases, even though the H-2B work visa can be issued for up to one year, it is assumed that the temporary need has a "clear beginning and end" which will self-destruct in a year or less by a "prearranged date" when each non-immigrant worker must promptly return to a foreign shore. The temporary nature of needs lasting longer than 10 months are suspect and need to be "adequately justified." H-2B workers do not qualify for temporary work unless the underlying job itself is temporary.
Remaining in the U.S.A.
Many H-2B work visa employees, upon entering the country, are able to find employment throughout various employment seasons. For example, employers that typically need workers during the summer seasons do not have as many jobs open during winter months, and thus are not able to make full use of H-2B workers. These workers may then find another employer needing workers for winter and spring months, and continue their stay in the U.S. without being required to return to their home country. This cycle can continue for up to three years, after which the non-immigrant worker must pursue a different status or return to their home.
Homeland Security regulations require employers interested in utilizing the H-2B work visa program to first apply for a temporary labor certification from the Secretary of Labor advising the Department of Homeland USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). This certification process inquires as to whether qualified U.S. workers are available and whether the alien’s employment will adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
There is currently a 66,000 visa cap on the number of foreign nonimmigrant workers who may receive initial H-2B work visa status during each government fiscal year (Oct. 1 through Sept. 30). The Department of Labor continues to review and process all H-2B work visa applications on a first come-first served basis, whether or not the 66,000 worker cap has been met. The cap opens twice a year, during the months of October and April, with a 33,000 worker allowance during each opening of the cap.
Employers seeking to employ nonimmigrant temporary/seasonal H-2B workers must file 2 (two) originals of the Form ETA 750, Part A, with the State Workforce Agency serving the areas of intended employment. In addition to the ETA 750, there are additional forms of documentation that can be filed to aid in the process. There are a number of professional consulting firms specializing in helping employers with the certification process; each make their own recommendations and have their own methods for receiving certification. Employers interesting in consulting one of these firms can look further in this guide for links to some of the more prominent ones.
When filling out the application, it is not necessary for employers to name specific beneficiaries. Once approval is granted, they are able to include any applicable workers in the I-129 application for nonimmigrant workers. (H2B)
Recruiting Workers Video
Debate Regarding Foreign Workers
Why Is it so Difficult?
Most employers that have attempted to make use of the H2b Guest Worker program have had unsatisfactory results. The filing process is unnecessarily difficult. To even get started with the program, each and every employer must jump through hurdles involving endless applications, paying for advertising (can run as high as $2,000-$3,000), and constant interrogations by bureaucrats.
The entire point of the program was to allow U.S. employers to fill gaps in their workforce. More often than not, employers simply end up wasting large amounts of time, effort, and hard-earned money.
Why is it so difficult? There are many within the political playing field that are against the program’s very existence. They argue that the program keeps jobs away from willing American workers. Others choose to say that the program adds to the growing epidemic of illegal and undocumented workers. Even though these theories are completely biased and unfair, they have still led to ever-increasing regulation of the Guest Worker H2B program.
Even following approval, many employers do not have the ability to recruit workers. Domestic corporations and businesses do not have the resources to maintain the recruitment network necessary to reach the workers they are looking for. They are often forced to resort to accepting applicants with little experience and no qualifications, resulting in more problems than they began with.
The Death of the H-2B Visa
Hello to all of our readers. Thanks for all of the comments, questions, and advice that we have gotten. Some of you may already know this, but on January 18, 2009, the U.S. Government posted brand new regulations regarding the H-2B Visa.
To try to prevent fraud, they have cut off many of the available methods honest H-2B employers used to hire international workers, and have made the process much more difficult for honest employers to hire workers without jumping through hoops to get them. The only employers that can still afford to use the H-2B visa are those that have enough money to hire full-time lawyers, and those that only do it to make money.
Regretfully, we have had to close the Staffing/Recruitment wing of our consulting service, because many of our previous employer clients can no longer afford to deal with the hassles involved with the H-2B process.
President Obama, prior to his election, made many references to the H2A and H2B visas, stating that "These jobs belong to Americans". Even though he was referring to the H-1B, this still shows you what the current political environment is like for international worker that are interested in employment. I sincerely hope that this will change, the U.S. economy cannot handle all of the employers that relied on these programs having to close their businesses. As we can plainly see, this has already affected the economy- every time there is stricter legislation passed on the topic of NonImmigrant work visas, the economy takes a dip and illegal immigration increases. Maybe one day someone in the upper channels of the government will figure this out.
If you have any more questions, feel free to email us. We don't always get a chance to answer comments on here, but answer any and all emails that come in. We may still know a couple of other companies that still provide support to those interested in NonImmigrant work visas, and will be happy to share their information. Other than that- we wish you the best!
Solutions for Employers
What options are available to employers?
International Recruitment Specialists are often able to help employers overcome many of the hurdles associating with applying for and recruiting H2B Guest Workers. Many of these companies have been working with the government organization that oversea the program for years. What better way to get something done than to turn to someone that has done it before?
Companies that specialize in NonImmigrant work visas have exhausted innumerable resources in establishing an exclusive network of recruiters, staffers, and immigration specialists. This network is put to use whenever a client notifies the company that they are looking to hire temporary or seasonal workers. Rather than having to resort to outdated information and companies making false promises, employers now have the opportunity to reach recruiters in countries throughout the world.
Many employers are overcome with apprehension and stress when using the Guest Worker program on their own. Most business owners, as a rule, do their best minimize their contact with government branches. Utilizing the services of an International Recruitment Specialist, however, will cause most (if not all) of the stress and apprehension to abate. Experienced firms will have already gone through most scenarios and situations related to the process. They will know the inns and outs, and can make recommendations that will further ease the process.