Seasonal workers are an essential part of the United States’ workforce, and immigrants fill many of the seasonal positions in Louisiana. These seasonal workers come to this country on H-2B visas, although getting one is not always easy. However, the Department of Homeland Security is raising the number of available visas, making employment immigration more widely available for workers who fill seasonal positions.
In 2019, the U.S. Congress gave DHS authority to increase the number of available H-2B visas. DHS added another 35,000 visas, putting the total at 66,000 per year. The first batch of these visas were made available on April 1, 2020. The second will be available on May 15, 2020. DHS also announced that it allocated 10,000 visas for seasonal workers from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, which it hopes will lower the number of undocumented workers from these countries.
Employers who rely on seasonal workers will benefit from the increased number of visas, but both workers and employers will have to deal with extra measures. In an effort to cut down on alleged abuse of the H-2B visa, the petition must show the same start date as the needed start date listed by the employer. There are also fewer supplemental visas for returning workers.
Temporarily working in Louisiana can be an excellent opportunity for some foreign nationals, so successfully securing an H-2B visa is important. The new measures implemented by DHS might make this type of employment immigration more difficult than it was in the past. But those who are prepared to learn more about the immigration system, visas and new and changing measures might be more prepared for the task.