The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is proposing to amend its regulations affecting non-agricultural workers within the H-2B nonimmigrant classification and their US employers. The H-2B nonimmigrant classification applies to foreign nationals seeking to perform non-agricultural labor and services in the United States on a temporary basis. Some of the proposed changes affecting employers hiring H-2B workers include:
- Relax the current limitations on the ability of US employers to petition for unnamed workers,
- Reduce from six months to three months the time H-2B workers must wait outside the United States before they are eligible to re-obtain status under the H or L classification,
- Require employer attestations on the scope of the H-2B employment and the use of recruiters to locate H-2B workers,
- Crack down on employers and recruiters who impose fees on prospective H-2B workers in connection with or as a condition of an offer of H-2B employment,
- Require employers to notify the Department of Homeland Security when H-2B workers fail to show up for work, are terminated, or abscond from the worksite, and
- Eliminate the requirement that employers show “extraordinary circumstances” to be eligible to hire H-2B workers where a one-time need for the workers is longer than one year but shorter than three years.
Again, these are proposed rules and are not currently in effect. A more detailed analysis of the proposed changes may be downloaded [PDF] from the USCIS website.