The H-2B US Work Permit

In these economic times the job market dictates that one should “go where the work is”. Employment in the US offers a wide range of openings for people with all types of skill sets. Knowing the proper work Visa to obtain can be the catalyst to a brighter future. And, seeking the assistance from the right immigration professional, just makes sense.

Understanding the H-2B Visa Work Permit

H-2B visas are work permits available to applicants who are coming to the United States for temporary employment which is non-agricultural. They are for skilled and unskilled workers–unlike the H-1B Visa which is for highly skilled workers in “specialty occupations”.

Qualifications for a H-2B Visa

The most essential aspect of qualifying for an H-2B visa is show the INS that your prospective employment in the U.S is temporary or seasonal (typically, one year or less) and is non-agricultural. You also require a suitable background for the job that is offered.

In most cases, the job offered is tied to a specific project that requires the services of a foreign employee and that can be completed within a finite time period. Employment involving temporary project management and consulting positions and training positions are typical examples of H-2B jobs.

Understanding Labour Certification

As a potential employee you must satisfy the U.S government that there are no qualified Americans willing or able to hold the position offered by the U.S employer. This involves filing applications to the Department of Labor (DOL) and to the INS. The DOL will require that the U.S. employer advertise for the position to American workers. Only where the employer fails in finding a qualified U.S worker, will the temporary labor certification be approved. This is better known as Labour Certification.

H-2B Visa Petition

Once Labour Certification has been established, the U.S employer is required to file an I-129 Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker with an INS Service Center with the jurisdiction over the place of employment. Once approved, the foreign worker can apply for the visa at a U.S Consulate in his or her home country. If the foreign worker is already in the United States they may file in the U.S under certain conditions.

Duration of H-2B Status

H-2B status is valid for a maximum of three years. After this three year period has expired, the foreign worker cannot seek to extend or change status, nor can they  be readmitted to the U.S. under the H and L nonimmigrant classification unless such person has resided outside the United States for six months.

Understanding the fine details of a H2B Visa can be a challenge and if you are not well informed it may result in a very unpleasant experience. By consulting with an immigration lawyer, you also provide yourself assurance that a professional is looking into the matter, with your interests at heart.

Contact today for a consultation with one of our Immigration Lawyers in the Boston, MA. area.

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