• After a Brief Reopening, the FY 2015 H-2B Cap Is Reached Again
  • August 18, 2015
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The FY 2015 quota for H-2B nonimmigrants has been reached, just over a week after USCIS reopened the cap to allow employers with an immediate need for temporary non-agricultural workers to petition for an unspecified number of unused H-2B visas.

    USCIS will reject any new H-2B petitions that request an employment start date before October 1, 2015 and were received after June 11, but will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the cap, including petitions for H-2B employees who were previously counted, extensions of stay, and changes of employer, among others. The agency will also continue to accept petitions for H-2B employment in FY 2016, which begins on October 1, 2015.

    Though the H-2B cap for each fiscal year is 66,000, USCIS accepts filings in excess of the cap to account for petition withdrawals, revocations and denials, as well as cases in which employers ultimately employ fewer H-2B workers than reflected in their petitions. Earlier this year, USCIS closed the cap after approving 3,900 petitions for about 77,000 beneficiaries. But after monitoring actual visa usage, USCIS determined that the number of H-2B visas issued as of June 5 was substantially less than initially projected. Thus, in an unprecedented move, the agency allowed employers to petition for the H-2B visas that remained for employment start dates in FY 2015.