The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on December 8 important filing updates for petitioners who will be requesting additional H-2B workers for fiscal year 2023 under the upcoming temporary final rule.

“We are announcing these updates prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register to assist petitioners who begin preparing their petitions in advance”, said the agency in a statement.

The new updates are:

  • Petitioners requesting additional H-2B workers under the upcoming rule must necessarily file their petitions at the California Service Center. Petitions filed under the supplemental allocations in this rule at any location other than the California Service Center will be rejected and the filing fees will be returned.
  • Immediately upon publication of the upcoming rule, USCIS will temporarily suspend the availability of premium processing for H-2B supplemental cap petitions until January 3. At this time, premium processing remains available for all other H-2B petitions, such as extension of stay requests.

Labor shortage

Due to the severe labor shortage the US is currently facing, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on October 12 that “would make available to employers an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for fiscal year (FY) 2023, on top of the 66,000 H-2B visas that are normally available each fiscal year.”

“DHS is moving with unprecedented speed to meet the needs of American businesses,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas back then on the announcing statement.

Those new 64,716 additional H-2B visas are the ones subjected to the new updates mentioned in the beginning of this blog post.