USCIS recently relaxed some parts of the H-2B program for workers in industries deemed essential to the U.S. Food Supply Chain.
What is the H-2B Program?
The H-2B program is utilized to hire foreign nationals for temporary/seasonal work where the employer can prove there are no able, willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers for the positions. The H-2B program, like all other work visa programs, has strict rules on changing employment and limits to how long they may work in the U.S. year-after-year.
Why is this important?
The temporary rule changes allow for H-2B workers in qualifying industries/positions to start work on the requested start date as soon as USCIS has receives the H-2B petition, instead of waiting for an approval. It also allows a temporary extension of the three-year maximum allowable period in the U.S. Some examples of positions/industries that USCIS deems “essential to the U.S. food supply chain”, include: food processing, manufacturing and packaging; food transportation from processing plants to distributors and end sellers; or work involved in selling food through retail establishments, including restaurants. The rule is expected to be in effect through September 2020.
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