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November 7, 2014

The H-2B Program

The H-2B program is a program that allows U.S. employers to bring to the United States skilled or unskilled foreign national for which the employer has only a temporary need. A statutory bar exists to the admission in the H-1B category of graduates of foreign medical schools coming to the United States to perform services as members of the medical profession. Started on October 1, 1991, an annual numerical cap of 66,000 was placed on new H-2B admission, with 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the 1st half of the fiscal year (October 1 - March 31) and 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the 2nd half of the fiscal year (April 1 - September 30). Any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year will be made available for use by employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year.  There is no "carry over" of unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year to the next. 
In addition, the U.S. employers must meet two basic requirements in order to bring in skilled or unskilled foreign nationals under the H-2B category: 
(1) it must demonstrate that it has only a temporary need for the type of services or skills to be performed by the foreign national and 
(2) it must demonstrate that U.S. workers are not available who are unemployed and qualified to fill the position. 
In addition, the foreign nationals must themselves a foreign residence that they have no intention of abandoning, and must intend to depart the United States at the of the their temporary stay. 
One of the most common uses of the H-2B category is for foreign national entertainers. Under the Department of Labor guidelines all requests for temporary certifications for entertainers must be filed with states employment service offices. In New York is the New York City Alien Employment Certification Office which covers the eastern United States. 
For information on the H-2B program, please contact our offices at (212)564-1589 or visit our website at www.lawschell.com