Biden Administration Allows H-2B Visa Processing and Issuance Restrictions to Lapse
Seasonal Workforce Program Rollout Expected to Remain Slow, as Many Eligible Countries Contend with COVID-19 Travel Restrictions
Yesterday, the Biden Administration declined to extend the previous Administration's ban on the processing of applications, and issuance of, H-2B and similar work-connected visas. IAM has closely followed and reported on this issue to members, as these visas are key in providing temporary workforce support during the peak moving season.
While this is welcome news for members seeking temporary workforce support from eligible countries, COVID-19 connected travel restrictions remain in place for now for a sizable number of eligible countries. The restrictions, highlighted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will remain in place until removed via Executive Order.
Compounding these challenges, is that the H-2B visa allocation "cap" for the second half of 2021 has been met. While Congress has provided the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) authorization to increase the number of H-2B visas, that increase has not yet been made. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) sent a letter earlier this week to the DHS, requesting that the number of visas be increased in a timely manner.
IAM will continue to closely follow this issue, and advise members of any developments as they unfold. If you have questions in the interim, please reach out to Bryan Vickers with IAM's Legislative and Regulatory team at email@example.com, 703-403-2882.