On Monday, December 20, the Department of Homeland Security announced that they will be releasing an additional 20,000 H-2B visas for the first half of the fiscal year, which begins October 1 and ends March 30. Of the 20,000 visas, 6,500 will be carved out for Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) and also Haiti.
This is a significant win for the landscape industry and other seasonal industries that continue to face labor shortages. This will allow landscape companies in warmer regions that have start dates in February and March to have a chance to access this supplemental allotment. The first half was capped out on October 12, 2021. This is the first time there has been a supplemental release for the first half cap.
NALP and other members of the H-2B Workforce Coalition have been communicating with DHS about needing more supplemental visas than previous years and also that the visas need to be made available in a timely manner. NALP believes that the process that will be undertaken to release these 20,000 can be quickly replicated when the second half cap is inevitably hit in February making it very likely that we can have another 15,000 – 20,000 supplemental vias released for the second half cap (April 1 – September 30) in April when the visas are so critical for the landscape industry.
The announcement does not include the temporary rule that provides for how to apply for the supplemental visas and what information is needed but based on conversations with DHS, NALP believes the process and information required will be very similar to what was required in May 2021 when DHS released 22,000 supplemental visas for the FY 21 second-half cap.