Extra Seasonal Guestworker Visas on Hold Due to Pandemic

April 2, 2020, 5:28 PM

Supplemental seasonal, non-agricultural guestworker visas are on hold indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The additional 35,000 H-2B visas were announced March 5. The first wave of 20,000 visas was supposed to be released April 1, with another 15,000 to come May 15. DHS said in a tweet that the rule governing the H-2B cap “is on hold pending review due to present economic circumstances. No additional H-2B visas will be released until further notice.”

The agency said it is now focusing efforts on “measures to protect American workers now and when normal economic activity is able to resume in the future.”

H-2B visas are reserved for seasonal jobs outside the agriculture industry, such as those with landscaping, resorts, amusement parks, and seafood processing. For the last several years, DHS has approved additional H-2B visas beyond the program’s annual 66,000 limit.

The H-2B cap rule (RIN: 1615-AC52) was sent to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs March 25.

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at gdouglas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com

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