H-2B Cap Reached
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2008. USCIS stated that January 2, 2008, is the “final receipt date” for new H-2B worker petitions requesting employment start dates before October 1, 2008. The final receipt date is defined as the date on which USCIS determines that it has received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of 33,000 H-2B workers for the second half of FY 2008.
USCIS said it is rejecting any petitions for new H-2B workers seeking employment start dates before October 1, 2008, that arrive after January 2, 2008. The agency will apply a computer-generated random selection process to all petitions subject to the cap that were received on January 2, 2008, to select the number of petitions needed to meet the cap. USCIS will reject, and return the fee, for all cap-subject petitions not randomly selected.
Petitions for workers who are currently in H-2B status do not count toward the congressionally mandated biannual H-2B cap. USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to extend the stay of a current H-2B worker in the U.S.; change the terms of employment for current H-2B workers and extend their stay; or allow current H-2B workers to change or add employers and extend their stay.
Kathleen Campbell Walker, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), said, “This continuing failure to connect the dots between meeting valid labor needs and our immigration laws is inexcusable. Placing America at a competitive disadvantage is unacceptable. Maxing out on a cap four months before the applicable period even begins shows how little relation there is between immigration policy and the needs of the economy.” AILA said that service industries such as hospitality, including restaurants and hotels, landscaping, construction, and seafood processing are among those most damaged by Congress’s inaction.