Tue | Nov 28, 2023

Immigration Corner | How long before can I get back on the H2B programme?

Published:Tuesday | February 1, 2022 | 12:06 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I read your column, and I am very interested in the service that you offer. I was a regular traveller on the H2B programme. I had a B1/B2 visa as well, but it got cancelled in 2018. My question is, how long does it take for me to get back on the H2B programme?

Is there a timeframe before I can apply again for the programme?

– KH

Dear KH:

The H2B programme is a visa programme that allows non-agricultural foreign workers (from certain countries) to come to the United States to work in a temporary or seasonal job. It is the visa we most associate with the Hotel Work Program – where non-immigrants are hired to come to America and work in hotels during their peak seasons. The employer in America must go through several stages, including proving to the US Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no American workers who will take the job that the temporary overseas worker is coming to the US to perform.

It is a costly and involved process for the employer who, after proving to the DOL that there is no American worker for the job, also must show that the need for the foreign worker is temporary or seasonal, that the foreign worker will be paid the prevailing wage, and must also provide accommodations for the workers. Once the employer satisfies those requirements and is approved by the DOL, they must then apply to the US Department of Homeland Security for the actual H2B visa for the workers. The employer then identifies the foreign worker they want to employ, who must, in turn, qualify for a non-immigrant H2B visa at their local US Embassy.

When foreign workers apply for the visa at their local embassy, they must meet all the requirements of a non-immigrant visa application, including that they are admissible to the United States and that they will return home after their period of stay/work in the United States has been completed.

It appears that it was your B1/B2 visa that was cancelled, but you did not indicate what happened. The United States deemed you inadmissible in a non-immigrant status, and that usually applies across all non-immigrant visa categories. Time does not cure that inadmissibility, and to regain any non-immigrant visa usually requires you to be granted a non-immigrant waiver. With a non-immigrant waiver, you would need to convince the United States why factually and legally you should be given the opportunity to return.

Just like with a visitor’s visa (B1/B2), a temporary work visa is a privilege and not a right. It matters not that you had one of these visas before and for how long. What matters is whether you will be deemed admissible at the time of application.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a diversity and inclusion consultant, mediator and former special magistrate and hearing officer in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com