In a signal of one of the tightest labor markets in recent memory, immigration attorneys at Harris Beach PLLC filed a record number of applications for H-2B temporary/seasonal workers on behalf of employers seeking to hire temporary or seasonal foreign workers in 2023.
The applications represent requests for H-2B visas totaling 8,111 workers, the most-ever submitted by the firm and its attorneys. Generally, H-2B visas grant foreign nationals the right to fill non-agricultural temporary or seasonal positions for a regulatorily defined period lasting no more than nine months. Harris Beach was responsible for filing applications representing 25% of the nation’s annual visa allotment.
This is the second consecutive record-setting H-2B filing period for Harris Beach, making it one of the largest attorney-managed seasonal visa practices in the country. Attorney-managed practices provide counsel to ensure full compliance with immigration laws, including requirements involving audits, post-filing reporting requirements, and other employer obligations under the program.
“About a decade ago, our team typically filed eight to ten petitions a year, covering maybe 20 to 30 workers. We’re now processing enough applications to take up almost a third of the yearly allotment for H-2B visas,” said Partner L.J. D’Arrigo, co-leader of the Harris Beach Immigration Law Practice Group.
“We have seen an unprecedented increase in demand for the H-2B program from all industry sectors. While once dominated by the landscaping, construction, and hospitality industries, we are now seeing requests from large national restaurant chains, window manufacturers, door-to-door sales companies and many other industries that have not considered the H-2B program in the past. With the inability of these employers to find sufficient U.S. labor, the H-2B program is now the go-to option for employers who need temporary help.”
“The H-2B program is imperfect, but it is vital for economic growth,” said Senior Counsel Jarrod Sharp, who focuses his practice on seasonal worker visas. “The program allows U.S. employers to sponsor essential workers no matter their skills or education, and the need for it among U.S. employers grows significantly each year.”
Jarrod and L.J. are presenting on the complexities of the H-2B non-agricultural visa program in a national webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 11. The webinar will cover visa requirements, procedures, compliance, and employer obligations. Register here.
The U.S. government maintains an annual cap of 66,000 H-2B visas annually, with half released on Oct. 1 for the first half of the government fiscal year and the remaining half released on April 1. The H-2B cap continues to be met earlier each year, but this year the U.S. government has released more supplemental H-2B visas than ever before. However, many are reserved for temporary workers from specific regions and for employers for specific start dates.
Click here to read L.J. D’Arrigo’s extensive overview of the H-2B program in his recent legal advisory.
About Harris Beach PLLC
Founded in 1856, Harris Beach and its subsidiaries provide legal and professional services to clients across New York state, as well as nationally and internationally. Harris Beach is among the country’s top law firms as ranked by The National Law Journal and ranks as a BTI Elite law firm based on in-depth interviews of more than 600 corporate counsel at the world’s largest and most influential companies. Clients include Fortune 100 corporations, privately held companies, emerging businesses, public sector entities, not-for-profit organizations, and individuals. Principal industries Harris Beach represents include cannabis, education, energy, financial, food and beverage, health care, insurance, manufacturing, medical and life sciences, real estate developers, science and technology, veterinary medicine, and state and local governments and authorities. Our more than 210 lawyers and consultants practice from offices throughout New York state in Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, and White Plains, as well as from offices in New Haven, Connecticut, Newark, New Jersey, and Washington, DC. For more information, please visit harrisbeach.com.