USCIS announced on December 5, 2006 that it had received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the first six months of Fiscal Year 2007. November 28, 2006 was the “final receipt date” for new H-2B worker petitions requesting employment start dates prior to April 1, 2007. The “final receipt date” was the date on which USCIS determined that it had received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of
33,000 H-2B workers for the first half of FY 2007.
USCIS will apply a computer-generated random selection process to all petitions which are subject to the cap and were received on November 28, 2006. This process will select the number of petitions needed to meet the cap. USCIS will reject all cap-subject petitions not randomly selected. USCIS will also reject petitions for new H-2B workers seeking employment start dates prior to April 1, 2007 that arrive after November 28, 2006. USCIS will continue to accept petitions for new H-2B workers seeking employment start dates on or after April 1, 2007 that arrive after the “final receipt date” only if such petitions are supported by a valid temporary labor certification.
Petitions for workers who are currently in H-2B status and returning H-2B workers do not count towards the congressionally mandated bi-annual H-2B cap. “Returning workers” are exempt from H-2B cap limitations. In order to qualify, the worker must have counted against the H-2B numerical cap between October 1, 2003 and September 30, 2006. Any worker not certified as a “returning worker” is subject to the numerical limitations for the relevant fiscal year. Petitions received after the “final receipt date” which contain a combination of “returning workers” and workers subject to the H-2B cap will be rejected with respect to non-returning workers. Petitioning employers will receive partial approvals for those aliens who qualify as “returning workers” if otherwise approvable.
USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to:
• Extend the stay of a current H-2B worker in the United States;
• Change the terms of employment for current H-2B workers and extend their stay;
• Allow current H-2B workers to change or add employers and extend their stay; or
• Request eligible H-2B “returning workers.”
More information about the H-2B work program is available at www.uscis.gov or by calling the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.