US accepting 25,000 more H-2B visas

In a statement, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said about 25,000 of the Congressional mandated 66,000 H2B visas are still left to be filled out for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009.

Unlike the H-1B, which is more popular among Indian professionals, H-2B programme allows US employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs for which there is a shortage of available US workers.

On January 7, 2009 USCIS had announced to have received enough applications to fill Congressional mandated cap of 66,000 H2B visas. However, the Department of State received far fewer than expected requests for H-2B visas and as a result, has issued only 40,640 H-2B visa for 2009.

Since there is much less time left between now and September 30, before which all these visas have to be used, USCIS has advised prospective employees and applicants to submit their petitions in the premium processing by depositing an additional fee of USD 1,000.

The USCIUS said the petitioner must also indicate an employment start date before October 1, 2009. Petitions received on or after October 1, 2009, and/or requesting a starting date on or after October 1, 2009, will be considered towards the fiscal year 2010 H-2B cap and are subject to all eligibility requirements for fiscal year 2010 H-2B filings.

Typically, H-2B workers fill labour needs in occupational areas such as education, construction, health care, landscaping, manufacturing, food service/processing, and resort/hospitality services.

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