Supplemental H-2B visas announcement March 5, 2020 Email
Thursday, March 05, 2020 01:00 PM

ALCC just received word from Sam Love and Senator Gardner’s office that DHS has released the following information (see below) about the supplemental H-2B visas. Additionally, we are including a message from Congressman Harris’s office regarding the release. While this is fewer than the 45,000 supplemental visas reported in the Wall Street Journal article, it is 5,000 more supplemental visas than the year before. As expected, it did come with a number of integrity measures and restrictions. More information as it becomes available. 

Announcement from DHS

DHS to Improve Integrity of Visa Program for Foreign Workers

Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will take necessary anti-fraud and abuse measures to protect the integrity of the H-2B visa program and also make available 35,000 supplemental H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the second half of fiscal year 2020. The allocation also comes with new conditions to protect American workers, provide relief to seasonal employers who truly need it, and reduce fraud and abuse in the program.

New to the program this year is an allocation that will also complement DHS border security initiatives. The program will offer an opportunity for nationals of key Central American partner nations to work lawfully in the United States. Of the released H-2B visas, 10,000 are specifically designated for nationals of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, in support of these countries' efforts to work with the U.S. to stem the flow of illegal migration in the region and encourage lawful migration to the United States.

While the Department is taking this action, long term reforms need to be made by Congress to this program going forward. In the interim, the Department is taking significant steps to promote integrity in the program, combat fraud and abuse, and ensure the supplemental allocation aligns with the national interest.

Reform measures include:

  • Requiring matching start dates on an H-2B petition and the employer’s start date of need;
  • collaborating with the Department of Labor on increased employer site visits; and,
  • generally limiting the supplemental visas to returning workers, who are known to follow immigration law in good faith.

This year’s supplemental allocation was determined after extensive consultation with stakeholders—including members of Congress and the Department of Labor—and is intended to strike a careful balance that benefits American businesses and American workers.

The supplemental visas will be made available in two batches to prevent a small handful of employers from using all the visas: 20,000 for start dates beginning April 1, and 15,000 for start dates beginning May 15. Adding a second batch will address specific congressional concerns about late-season filers.

DHS is committed to ensuring that our immigration system is implemented lawfully and that American workers are protected. If members of the public have information that a participating employer may be abusing this program, DHS invites them to submit information to [email protected] and include information identifying the H-2B petitioning employer and relevant information that leads them to believe that the H-2B petitioning employer is abusing the H-2B program. Individuals are also encouraged to report allegations of employer fraud and abuse to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division by contacting 1-866-487-9243 or visit  to locate the nearest office for assistance.

Further details regarding this year’s H-2B allocation will be contained in a Temporary Final Rule that DHS aims to complete and publish as soon as possible.

Announcement from Congressman Andy Harris (MD-01)

Harris Applauds Trump Administration Release of Additional H-2B Visas

WASHINGTON, DC: On March 5th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intent to release 35,000 additional H-2B visas for the summer season of Fiscal Year 2020. Congressman Andy Harris (MD-01) has spearheaded the effort in Congress to secure the timely release of supplemental visas.  He sent a letter, signed by a total of 151 members of the House and 38 Senators, urging Acting Secretary Wolf to release, as quickly as possible, additional H-2B visas to meet seasonal labor demands.

Congressman Harris made the following statement:

“I applaud the Department of Homeland Security for approving the release of 35,000 supplemental H-2B visas in time for the upcoming summer season.  This is 5000 more supplemental visas than had been approved last year.  The record low unemployment rate under the Trump Administration and oversubscription to the H-2B visa program is a debilitating issue for the economy of Maryland’s First Congressional District and the country. I commend President Trump and Acting Secretary Wolf for providing these extras visas – and I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to pass a permanent solution to the chronic H-2B visa shortage across this country – something that only Congress can do.”

Further details regarding this year’s H-2B allocation will be contained in a Temporary Final Rule that DHS aims to complete and publish as soon as possible.