On October 1, 2007, USCIS announced that it had already reached the congressionally mandated cap on H-2B visas of 33,000 for the first half of Fiscal Year 2008 (FY2008). As a result, September 27, 2007, was the “final receipt date” for new H-2B petitions requesting employment start dates before April 1, 2008, meaning that all petitions received after September 27 requesting start dates prior to April 1, 2008, will be denied.

In addition, provisions for “returning workers” have not yet been reauthorized or extended for FY2008. Currently, “returning workers” who were counted toward the H-2B limit for Fiscal Years 2004, 2005, or 2006 were exempt from being counted against the FY2007 cap. If the “returning workers” provisions are not reauthorized, USCIS will be required to count all petitions for H-2B workers for new employment with start dates on or after October 1, 2007, toward the FY2008 H-2B cap.

Petitions for workers who currently maintain H-2B status will not count towards the bi-annual cap. Therefore, USCIS will continue to process petitions for current H-2B workers that are filed to: (1) extend the stay of a current H-2B worker in the United States; (2) change the terms of employment and extend their stay; or (3) change or add employers and extend their stay.