Relief for Maine H-2B Employers: U.S. DOL, DHS release 22,000 H-2B Visas Nationally for Returning Foreign Workers
May 25, 2021
For Immediate Release: May 25, 2021
Relief for Maine H-2B Employers:
U.S. DOL, DHS release 22,000 H-2B Visas Nationally for Returning Foreign Workers
AUGUSTA - Maine employers who are already certified by the U.S. Department of Labor now have another chance to apply for H-2B, or nonagricultural nonimmigrant temporary worker visas: The Secretary of Homeland Security has decided, after consultation with Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, to increase the H-2B cap for FY 2021 by up to 22,000 additional visas.
The visas are for American businesses that are likely to suffer irreparable harm (permanent and severe financial loss) without the ability to employ all of the H-2B workers requested on their respective petitions before the end of FY 2021.
"Many Maine businesses rely on temporary workers during the busy summer tourism season," Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said. "I encourage qualifying businesses who are still looking to hire nonagricultural, nonimmigrant temporary workers to consider taking advantage of these additional visas to help fill the gaps in their workforce. The Maine CareerCenters stand ready to help employers with recruitment assistance and posting job orders on the Maine JobLink."
The 22,000 visas are divided into two allocations, as follows:
16,000 visas limited to returning workers, regardless of country of nationality, who were issued H-2B visas or held H-2B status in fiscal years 2018, 2019, or 2020
6,000 visas initially reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries as attested by the petitioner (regardless of whether such nationals are returning workers). However, if all 6,000 visas reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries are not allocated by July 8, 2021, USCIS will announce by July 23, 2021, on its website, that such unused Northern Triangle country visas will be made available to employers regardless of the beneficiary's country of nationality, subject to the returning worker limitation.
"Maine's hospitality industry is excited to have this second opportunity to access some of the 22,000 additional H2B visa workers available through the H-2B cap increase," Greg Dugal of HospitalityMaine said. "It is no secret that there is a shortage of workers in general in every state and that this effort will be one of many ways to resolve that issue for what looks to be an incredibly busy summer travel season in Maine."
Employers, who must already be certified by U.S. DOL, will be required to work with MDOL to:
Place a new job order with the Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/ for at least 15 calendar days; and
Contact the nearest Maine CareerCenter - https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations/index.shtml in the geographic area where work will commence to request staff assistance to advertise and recruit U.S. workers for the job opportunity.
Information on other qualification requirements for the FY 2021 supplemental cap can be found in the temporary rule, which was published in the Federal Register on May 25, 2021: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/2021-11048/exercise-of-time-limited-authority-to-increase-the-fiscal-year-2021-numerical-limitation-for-the