May 8, 2019
Dear SEA members,
The rule outlining the filing instructions for the additional 30,000 visas has been published in the Federal Register.
A few items of note:
You must sign an attestation form attesting to the following items:
Your business will suffer irreparable harm if you do not receive your H-2B workers;
The workers you petition for have held H-2B status during one of the last three fiscal years (2016, 2017 or 2018).
On page seven of the rule it says that "petitions submitted pursuant to the FY 2019 Omnibus will be processed in the order in which they were received." This leads one to believe that applications will be processed in the order which they are received but keep in mind this exactly the same language as the 2018 rule.
Petitions submitted pursuant to the FY 2018 Omnibus will be processed in the order in which they were received.
In 2018 USCIS held all applications for five days in order to determine if a lottery was necessary. I would encourage you to get your applications submitted in as timely a fashion as possible but keep in mind that there is a decent chance USCIS may hold a lottery if the demand exceeds the supply.
Based off of feedback from our member agents, we estimate that the demand for the visas will be in the 30,000 range, give or take a few thousand. The returning worker provision lessens the demand due to the lack of eligible returning workers.
I will be in touch soon with our comprehensive strategy regarding obtaining a permanent fix this year.