H-2B cap hit for 2nd half of FY 2017 Email
Friday, March 17, 2017 02:00 AM

H-2B program updateFrom the H-2B Workforce Coalition:

H-2B Cap Hit! Act Now to #SaveH2B

This evening, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the 33,000 H-2B cap for the second half of fiscal 2017 was reached on March 13. According to DHS, March 13, 2017 is the "final receipt date" for H-2B worker petitions for fiscal year 2017. The "final receipt date" is the date on which USCIS determines that it has received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the annual limit of 66,000 H-2B workers. The following petitions are exempt from the cap:

  • Current H-2B workers in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • Workers performing labor or services from November 28, 2009, until December 31, 2019, in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.

What Can You Do?
This is a long list but we hope all H-2B employers will do each of the items below
to help compel quick Congressional action!


  • Call your Senators and Representative and ask them to pass the H-2B returning worker exemption or other cap relief immediately. If you do not know their direct numbers, you can reach them through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121. Once connected to the office, ask to speak to the person who handles H-2B issues and stress the immediate need for cap relief. Congress must understand that failure to pass prompt cap relief will result in American job losses.
  • Encourage your employees, co-workers, customers and suppliers to also call their Senators and Representatives. Without H-2B workers, American jobs are at risk, companies may not be able to fulfill obligations to customers and they may scale back on purchases of equipment and supplies.
  • Set up meetings locally or in Washington, DC with your Senators and Representative. Schedule a meeting with your elected officials in their Washington, DC or district offices and stress the importance of immediate cap relief. You can also reach out to your trade association or H-2B provider to talk about scheduling group meetings.
  • Email your Senators and Representative. Stress the immediate need for cap relief. Please be as specific as you can about the role this program plays in your business and how the company and its American work force will be negatively impacted by the cap. Congress must understand that failure to pass cap relief will result in American job losses.
  • Email us a quote about the impact of the cap on your business and your American workers. We would like to catalogue as many stories as possible out the impact of the cap of your company, your workers and your customers.  For example, will you lose contracts, need to lay off American workers, or turn away business? Any specific estimates about financial loss are especially helpful. Please understand that the quotes you provide will be shared with lawmakers or share on the H-2B Workforce Coalition’s FaceBook page. Please email your quotes to: [email protected].
  • Create and tweet a personal video at your elected officials.  See this post for details.

Fiscal Year 2017 H-2B Cap Count
On March 16, 2017, USCIS announced that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for FY 2017. March 13, 2017 is the "final receipt date" for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting employment start dates before October 1, 2017. The "final receipt date" is the date on which USCIS determines that it has received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of 66,000 H-2B workers for FY 2017.

Cap Type

Cap Amount

Beneficiaries Approved

Beneficiaries Pending

Total Beneficiaries1

Date of Last Count

First Half
of FY 2017




On Jan. 10, 2017, the cap for the 1st half of FY 2017 was reached.


Second Half
of FY 2017




On March 13, the cap for the 2nd half of FY 2017 was reached.


Refers to the total number of beneficiaries for approved or pending petitions filed with USCIS that could potentially be counted towards the H-2B cap.
This number will ultimately exceed the actual cap to allow for withdrawals, denials, and approvals for which no visa is issued.
2 If the cap is not reached for the first half of the fiscal year, USCIS will make those unused numbers available for use during the second half of the fiscal year.

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