December 13, 2022
Washington, D.C. —Following a push led by U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that they are issuing a temporary final rule that makes available 64,716 additional H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for fiscal year (FY) 2023. This rule implements the supplemental H-2B visa allocations announced on October 12, 2022. This is the first time that the Departments have issued a single rule making available H-2B supplemental visas for several allocations throughout the entire fiscal year.
Senator Collins and Senator King had previously called on the agencies to increase the number of H-2B visas for Fiscal Year 2023 to the maximum number, approximately 65,000 visas, to help small businesses hire workers. These visas are on top of the 66,000 H-2B visas that are normally available each fiscal year. Notably, the rule reserves a portion of the additional visas to help meet the demand for workers during the peak summer season.
“These 65,000 additional H-2B visas will provide much-needed relief for small businesses that are continuing to face extreme difficulty finding workers in a tight labor market,” said Senators Collins and King. “Without these visas, many small businesses, particularly hotels and restaurants in our hospitality industry, would be unable to open or would have to curtail their operations, hurting local communities and Maine employees. We must improve the H-2B program to ensure Maine small businesses do not continue to suffer from a lack of workers.”
Senators Collins and King have long led efforts to address workforce shortages. Following a push in May, DHS and DOL announced that a temporary rule had been finalized that provided an additional 35,000 H-2B visas to help small businesses fill seasonal job openings during the busy summer season. These visas supplemented the previous supply of 33,000 H-2B visas for the second half of Fiscal Year 2022.
H-2B workers support American job growth and small businesses. Bipartisan research has found a direct correlation between increased numbers of H-2B workers and a rise in pay across the board for all employees. As required by law, employers must first make a concerted effort to hire American workers to fill open positions. H-2B visas fill needs for American small businesses when there are not enough able and willing American workers to fill the temporary, seasonal positions.