Recently, the Department of Labor announced some key changes to the H-2B visa program. These visas are designed to bring skilled, temporary non-agricultural workers to the U.S. The new rules not only create more available visas to address America’s labor shortage. They also make it possible for some temporary foreign workers who are currently here to continue working. This is big news for California, where many employers in industries like tech have come to rely on the H-2B visa program.
Expansion of H-2B
The expansion of the H-2B visa program is something that politicians on both sides of the aisle have long supported. Employment immigration is a key in many industries. Some of them are also heavily seasonal, so employing workers under the temporary program makes a great deal of sense for them.
Some new nuances
Under the new provisions, not all temporary immigrant workers will be portable. That means they will not all be eligible to go to work for a new employer. Some H-2B workers will only be permitted to continue working for their current company for an extra 240 days. But some workers whose extensions were already pending in May 2021 may actually be eligible to go to work for a new employer.
Immigration law is incredibly complicated. It can be hard to stay compliant when the rules are so confusing and change so often. If you’re here on an H-2B visa, it’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer, especially if portability is a concern.