H-2B Numbers Remain Available for Second Half of FY 2009, But Cap Likely to be Met Soon


According to statistics released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), usage of quota numbers for H-2B employment in the second half of Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 is nearing exhaustion. As of January 2, 2009, the agency received H-2B filings for 36,319 beneficiaries against a target of 50,000 beneficiaries for the half-year. Of these, USCIS has approved 20,687 H-2B beneficiaries. At the current pace, the H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2009 will likely be reached in the coming weeks.

The H-2B cap is 33,000 for the second half of the fiscal year, but USCIS estimates that applications for at least 50,000 cap-subject beneficiaries will be needed to reach the half-year cap. USCIS uses the higher beneficiary target figure to account for cases that are ultimately denied, withdrawn, or revoked, as well as cases in which employers actually employ fewer workers than requested. Note that USCIS may move the target figure based on changing circumstances.

With H-2B number usage nearing the beneficiary target figure and the number of approvals nearing the half-year cap, employers are urged to file petitions soon for employment start dates in the second half of FY 2009, which runs from April 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009. H-2B petitions may be filed up to six months before the employment start date.

Copyright © 2009 by Ogmen & Associates.

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