(Trends Wide Español) — To work legally in the United States, you do not need to be a professional or have enough experience in a specific field. Just want to work and take advantage of the thousands of temporary worker visas the country offers for agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, known as H-2A and H-2B visas.
And here’s some good news.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released on Wednesday an updated list of countries eligible for this type of visa, “whose nationals are eligible to participate in the programs.” That is, if you are originally from any of the following countries on the list, you can apply for these visas to work in fiscal year 2022.
“The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow US employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill positions in agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, respectively,” USCIS said in a statement Tuesday.
As of this Wednesday, citizens of these Latin American countries (there are also from other countries in the world) are eligible to apply for H-2A and H-2B visas.
- Costa Rica
- The Savior
- Paraguay (citizens of this country are eligible to participate in the H-2A program, but not in the H-2B program)
- Dominican Republic
To see other countries in the world, you can see the list here.
What are H-2 visas?
Every year, the United States grants thousands of H-2 visas to workers with or without experience (non-professionals and without an academic degree) to work temporarily in the country. This category is divided into two types of visas: the H-2A for agricultural workers and the H-2B for non-agricultural workers.
In 2020, the US granted a total of 65,716 H-2B visas, mostly occupied by gardeners, forestry workers and meat cutters.
The countries whose citizens received the highest number of H-2B visas were Mexico with 74.7%, followed by Jamaica with 8.9% and Guatemala with 2.7%, according to a report by the Citizenship and Immigration Service of United States (USCIS).
Unlike H-2A visas, H-2B visas are subject to an annual limit determined by Congress that is currently 66,000 workers per year.
However, in May the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that they will increase the limit to a maximum of 22,000 additional visas. until the end of fiscal year 2021 “to ensure that American businesses are equipped with the resources necessary to successfully recover and contribute to the economic health of local communities,” said DHS.
According to DHS, 16,000 of these visas would allow employers to hire H-2B workers already in the US without having to wait for a new petition to be approved, while 6,000 are reserved for Guatemalan nationals. El Salvador and Honduras in order to “expand the legal avenues of opportunity in the United States.”
How to apply for an H-2B visa?
The petitioner or employer will need to show that there are not enough US workers who are “trained, willing, available, and qualified to do the temporary work.”
Employing workers under the H-2B visa must not adversely affect US workers employed in similar jobs, and the work of candidate workers must be temporary in nature. USCIS considers temporary if a job:
- It happens only once: a petitioner argues that the need occurs only once and shows that they have not previously hired workers to perform the service and will not need them in the future, or that it is a permanent employment situation but that a temporary event or Short duration created the need for a temporary worker.
- It is seasonal: the service or job for which you are seeking workers is related by an event or pattern of events of a recurring nature.
Broadly speaking, the application process for the H2-B program is as follows:
- The petitioner submits an application for Temporary Employment Certification for Foreign Labor from the DOL.
- The petitioner must file a Form I-129 with USCIS.
- Candidate workers outside the U.S. will need to apply for the H-2B visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad and then apply for admission at a port of entry. To the appointment they must bring a valid passport, a valid petition number (found in the job offer) and proof of payment of the visa application of US $ 190.
How long can I work in the US on an H2-B visa?
The maximum period of stay is 3 years. After 3 years, H-2B visa recipients must leave the US for a period of 3 uninterrupted months before applying for readmission under the same type of visa.
The H-2B visa is granted for a period of one year, although it can be requested two extensions of up to one year each. The extension request must be submitted prior to its expiration and workers may remain in the US during the extension process.
Workers who receive the extension do not have to apply for a new visa, as long as they do not leave the United States, and if they return to their country of origin, they must apply for a new visa before re-entering the North American country.
– With information from Alejandra Ramos from Trends Wide en Español.