3rd May 2018
Interested in entering the US through an H-2B Visa? If you have not been keeping up with the news, then you might be surprised to realize that the H-2B visas are expected to be in short supply this 2018 – unless the government can do something about the high demand. Of course, it is not that simple when there are statutory limitations imposed on the release of H-2B visas.
Of course, with all these problems aside, it is indeed a good idea to do some advanced research if staying temporarily in the US is your chosen route to becoming a US immigrant and earning a green card.
First of all, you need to realize that an H-2B or H-1B visa or any other temporary worker’s visa is considered to be a non-immigrant visa. It stands to reason that this is the case because by its very nature, an immigrant visa should allow the holder to stay in the US permanently. The H-2B visa is temporary in nature and therefore, after a specific time period, it will expire rendering any further stay in the US by its holder invalid and illegal. In short, you would become an illegal immigrant if you overstayed your visa.
There are different time periods allowable for H-2B as opposed to H-1B visas. In an H-1B visa, the time period for an H-1B is a maximum of six years, plus an additional time of three years allowed for extensions. On the other hand, an H-2B visa is intended for season or agricultural work and such as, it is limited to the employer’s need for temporary workers, but it cannot exceed the maximum period of one year (365 days) normally. In some special circumstances, the one year maximum period may be lengthened to three years.
The PERM Process
However, while an H-2B visa and the work related with that particular visa is required to be temporary in nature, a US employer may actually be able to sponsor you for a more permanent US visa. This is done by completing what is known as the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) system. The PERM process can take several months and requires cooperation from yourself, your employer and the DOL (Department of Labor). There are several complicated steps in all and these include:
- Preparation of Job Description and requirements by your employer
- Requesting for a Prevailing Wage Determination from the DOL
- Conducting recruitment (by the employer)
- Filing of labor certification
- DOL makes a decision on the labor certification
If the DOL decides to audit the labor certification, the employer will be given 30 days to respond. If denied, the employer still has 30 days to file an appeal.
While the PERM process was actually designed to streamline the previous more tedious process of obtaining foreign workers for permanent positions from abroad, it is not the only exclusive way of earning an immigration visa while under an H-2B visa. One other way is through family immigration.
This is one of the most common ways of obtaining permanent resident status in the US and it can be through marriage or by blood. This means that you may be eligible for family-based immigration while still under an H-2B visa through your spouse, sibling or relative/other family member.
If you are really serious about pursuing this particular topic, consult with a qualified immigration lawyer for more detailed information on this subject.