The H-2B visa nonimmigrant program permits employers to hire workers to come temporarily to the United States. and perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor on a one-time, seasonal, peakload or intermittent basis.[1]

The H-2B visa classification requires the United States Secretary of Homeland Security to consult with appropriate agencies before admitting H-2B non-immigrants. Homeland Security regulations require that, except for Guam, the petitioning employer first apply for a temporary labor certification from the United States Secretary of Labor indicating that: (1) there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are capable of performing the temporary services or labor at the time of filing the petition for H-2B classification and at the place where the foreign worker is to perform the work; and (2) the employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The Department of Labor will review and process all H-2B applications on a first in, first out basis.[2]

Employers seeking to employ temporary H-2B workers must apply for Temporary Employment Certification to the Chicago National Processing Center (NPC). An employer may submit a request for multiple unnamed foreign workers as long as each worker is to perform the same services or labor, on the same terms and conditions, in the same occupation, in the same area of intended employment during the same period of employment. Certification is issued to the employer, not the worker, and is not transferable from one employer to another or from one worker to another.[2]

Workers admitted under a H-2B visa are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. They may pay excessive fees for getting the visa, rent, and uniform, and not receive the pay and work promised. Often the labor certification is fraudulently obtained and local wages and working conditions are also depressed.[3]


  1. Staff writer. "Barbados added to US work visa list",, 17 January 2011 - Published. Retrieved on 17 January 2011. “Barbados is among 15 countries added to a list eligible to participate in two United States foreign workers programmes known and H2A and H2B. [. . .] Jamaica, Belize and the Dominican Republic are among the 53 nations approved under both programmes.” 
  2. 2.0 2.1 H-2B Certification for Temporary Non-Agricultural Work From website of the United States Department of Labor. Material used may be based on direct quotations as the text of the page is the work of employees of the Federal Government during performance of their duties, thus in the Public Domain, accessed October 7, 2010
  3. "Subcontractor Servitude" op-ed by Jennifer Gordon in The New York Times September 1, 2013

See also

External links and further reading

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