Additional H2B Cap Reached for Second Half of FY2022

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it has received sufficient filings to reach the cap for the additional H2B visas made available to returning workers. Since the number of petitions received in the first five business days of filing exceeds the prescribed limit, the USCIS conducted a random selection of petitions to meet the 23,500 returning worker allotment for the second half of fiscal year 2022 (FY22).

Background on H2B Program

The H2B visa category is designed to help U.S. employer in an industry with peak load, seasonal, or intermittent needs to augment its existing labor force with temporary workers. In addition, a U.S. employer may use the H2B if there is a one-time occurrence that necessitates a temporary increase in workers. The H2B visa category is used by a number of different industries, but is especially prevalent in the construction and food services industries.

Availability of Supplemental H2B Visas

On March 31, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that up to 35,000 additional H2B visas would be made available for the second half of FY22, with 23,500 available to returning workers who previously received an H2B visa or were in the United States pursuant to H2B status during one of the last three fiscal years. The remaining 11,500 visas were reserved for workers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti.

Next Steps

Petitioners whose workers were not selected for the 23,500 returning worker allotment have the option to refile for nationals from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti while visas for that allotment remain available. The final date for filing petitions for foreign nationals from these countries is September 15, 2022, or when the cap is reached, whichever occurs first.

The USCIS will also continue to accept H2B petitions exempt from the cap. Cap-exempt petitions include:

  • Current H2B workers in the U.S. petitioning for an extension of amendment of stay
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing
  • Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from 28Nov2009 until 31Dec2029


The H2B program helps fill important gaps in the U.S. labor market. The fact that the cap is quickly met nearly every time it opens highlights just how critical immigration is to keeping the U.S. economy running.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.