The Department of Homeland Security announced last week a supplemental increase of 22,000 visas for the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker program; 6,000 of these visas will be reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The additional visas will be made available in the coming months via a temporary final rule in the Federal Register.

The H-2B visa program provides 66,000 visas per year to seasonal nonfarm employers such as landscapers, fisheries and resorts.

“The H-2B program is designed to help US employers fill temporary seasonal jobs, while safeguarding the livelihoods of American workers,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “This supplemental increase also demonstrates DHS’s commitment to expanding lawful pathways for opportunity in the United States to individuals from the Northern Triangle.”

The additional visas will only be made available to employers that attest that, if they do not receive workers under the cap increase, they are likely to suffer irreparable harm. The employer must first test the US labor market and certify in their petitions that there are not enough US workers who are able, willing, qualified and available to do the temporary work for which they seek a prospective foreign worker; and that employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed US workers.

Additionally, the temporary final rule will allow employers to immediately hire H-2B workers who are already present in the US without waiting for approval of the new petition.