The Departments of Homeland Security and Labor (DOL) plan to officially release a rule on Wednesday, May 8, that kicks off an application process for an additional 30,000 H-2B visas for fiscal 2019. According to a statement from AmericanHort, these visas will be limited to returning workers who received H-2B visas in one or more of the previous three fiscal years (2016, 2017, or 2018).
Beginning on May 8, employers with a valid Department of Labor temporary labor certification for a start date of April 1 can apply directly to the Department of Homeland Security – US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) without re-advertising or going back through the DOL process, provided that their visa petitions are submitted to USCIS before the expiration of their labor certification, which should run through May 14.
The AmericanHort statement notes that employers will also need to submit an attestation form that without H-2B workers, the employer will suffer “irreparable harm” or permanent and severe financial loss. The attestation form will be available from the Department of Labor here. After May 14, employers will need to re-advertise jobs and file a new application for labor certification with DOL.
Growers can view a pre-publication copy of the rule at https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-09500.pdf.