The USCIS recently announced that the H-2B quota for the first half of fiscal year 2008 (October 1, 2007 through March 30, 2008) was met in one day on October 1, 2007. The H-2B category is available for seasonal, peakload or intermittent temporary positions which normally will last less than ten months. 66,000 H-2B visas are available each year with half being available in the first half of the fiscal year and the remaining half being available in the second-half of the fiscal year. Previously, workers who had H-2B status in the past three years were exempt from the H-1B quota. However, this Returning Worker provision expired on September 30, 2007. It is assumed that the H-2B quota for the first half of the fiscal year 2008 was met so quickly due to the fact that the Returning Worker exemption is no longer available. The second half of the fiscal year H-2B quota becomes available on April 1, 2008. However, because employers are able to file petitions with the USCIS against this quota prior to April 1, 2008 (as long as the petition has a start date of April 1, 2008) after the DOL has issued a temporary labor certification, it is assumed that the quota for the second half of the fiscal year will be met possibly as early as January or February 2008.
Additional information about the H-2B quota and whether Congress passes legislation either increasing the quota or reinstating the Returning Worker exemption will be contained in our firm’s future Immigration Updates when it becomes available.