The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. For more information about the H-2B program, see the link to the left under "H-2B Non-Agricultural Workers."
What is the H-2B Cap?
There is a statutory numerical limit, or "cap," on the total number aliens who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-2B status (including through a change of status) during a fiscal year. Currently, the H-2B cap set by Congress is 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the 1st half of the fiscal year (October 1 - March 31) and 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the 2nd half of the fiscal year (April 1 - September 30). Any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year will be made available for use by employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year. There is no "carry over" of unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year to the next.
Persons who are exempt from the H-2B cap
Generally, an H-2B worker who extends his/her stay in H-2B status will not be counted again against the H-2B cap. Similarly, the spouse and children of H-2B workers classified as H-4 nonimmigrants are not counted against this cap. Additionally petitions for the following types of workers are exempt the H-2B cap
Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing
From November 28, 2009 until December 31, 2014, workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and/or Guam.
Once the H-2B cap is reached, USCIS may only accept petitions for H-2B workers who are exempt from the H-2B cap.
Fiscal Year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2014 H-2B Cap Count
As USCIS receives H-2B petitions for fiscal year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2014, the chart below will be regularly updated.
Date of Last Count
H-2B: 1st Half FY 2014
H-2B: 2nd Half FY 2014
1 Refers to the estimated number of beneficiaries needed to be included on petitions filed with USCIS to reach the H-2B cap, with an allowance for withdrawals, denials, and revocations. This number will always be higher than the actual cap.
2 As noted, if the cap is not reached for the 1st half of the fiscal year, those numbers will be made available for use during the 2nd half of the fiscal year. In some fiscal years, therefore, depending on demand for H-2B workers, more than 33,000 cap-subject persons may be granted H-2B status during the 2nd half of the fiscal year.
A Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services. Many other businesses, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for your number.If you are a noncitizen living in the United States, you also may need a Social Security number. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Noncitizens (Publication No. 05-10096). If you are temporarily in the United States to work, see Foreign Workers and Social Security Numbers (Publication No. 05-10107).
How do I get a number and card?
To apply for a Social Security number and card:
• Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5); and
• Show the original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency proving:
—U.S. citizenship or immigration status [including Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permission to work in the United States];
Then, take or mail your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office.
Citizenship or immigration status:
The center accepts only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S.passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current U.S. immigration documents. Acceptable documents include your:
• Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (green card, includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);
• I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, with your unexpired foreign passport; or
• I-766, Employment Authorization Card (EAD, work permit).
International students must present further documentation. For more information, see International Students And Social Security Numbers (Publication No. 05-10181).
Age: You need to present your birth certificate. (If one exists, you must submit it.) If a birth certificate does not exist, Social Security may be able to accept your:
• Religious record made before the age of 5 showing your date of birth;
• U.S. hospital record of your birth; or
Identity: Social Security can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Social Security will ask to see a U.S. driver's license, state-issued nondriver identification card or U.S. passport as proof of identity. If you do not have the specific documents asked for, Social Security will ask to see other documents including:
• Employee ID card;
• School ID card;
• Health insurance card (not a Medicare card);
• U.S. military ID card;
• Adoption decree;
• Life insurance policy; or
• Marriage document (only in name change situations).
All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Social Security cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. Social Security may use one document for two purposes. For example, Social Security may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. Or, Social Security may use your U.S. birth certificate as proof of age and citizenship. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.
Social Security will mail your number and card as soon as they have all of your information and have verified your documents with the issuing offices.
What does it cost?
There is no charge for a Social Security number and card. If someone contacts you and wants to charge you for getting a number or card, please remember that these Social Security services are free. You can report anyone attempting to charge you by calling our Office of the Inspector General hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
Are there different types of cards?
Social Security issues three types of Social Security cards. All cards show your name and Social Security number.
• The first type of card shows your name and Social Security number and lets you work without restriction. Social Security issue it to:
—U.S. citizens; and
—People lawfully admitted to the
United States on a permanent basis.
• The second type of card shows your name and number and notes, “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.” Social Security issues this type of card to people lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis who have DHS authorization to work.
• The third type of card shows your name and number and notes, “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT.” Social Security issues it to people from other countries:
—Who are lawfully admitted to the United States without work authorization from DHS, but with a valid nonwork reason for needing a Social Security number; or
—Who need a number because of a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service.
How do I get my child a Social Security number?
It is a good idea to get the number when your child is born. You can apply for a Social Security number for your baby when you apply for your baby’s birth certificate. The state agency that issues birth certificates will share your child’s information with us. Social Security will mail the Social Security card to you. Or, you can wait and apply at any Social Security office. If you wait, you must provide evidence of your child’s age, identity and U.S. citizenship status. If you are filing an application on behalf of someone else, you must show us evidence of your relationship to, or responsibility for, the person for whom you are filing. You also must show us proof of your identity. Social Security must verify your child’s birth record, which can add up to 12 weeks to the time it takes to issue a card. To verify a birth record, Social Security will contact the office that issued it.
Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for an interview, even if a parent or guardian will sign the application on the child’s behalf.
Adoption: Social Security can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).
What if my name changed?
If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell us when your name changes, it may:
• Delay your tax refund; and
• Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.
If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us a document that proves your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:
• Marriage document;
• Divorce decree;
• Certificate of Naturalization showing a new name; or
• Court order for a name change.
If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records or if you changed your name more than two years ago (four years ago if you are younger than age 18), you must show us an identity document in your old name (as shown in our records). Social Security will accept an identity document in your old name that has expired.If you do not have an identity document in your old name, Social Security may accept an unexpired identity document in your new name, as long as Social Security can properly establish your identity in our records.
Citizenship: Also, if you are a U.S. citizen born outside the United States and our records do not show you are a citizen, you will need to provide proof of your U.S. citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.
Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name.
How do I make sure my records are accurate?
Each year your employer sends a copy of your W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) to Social Security. Social Security compares your name and Social Security number on the W-2 with the information in our files. Social Security add the earnings shown on the W-2 to your Social Security record.It is critical that your name and Social Security number on your Social Security card agree with your employer’s payroll records and W-2 so that Social Security can credit your earnings to your record. It is up to you to make sure that both Social Security’s records and your employer’s
records are correct. If your Social Security card is incorrect, contact any Social Security office to make changes. Check your W-2 form to make sure your employer’s record is correct and, if it is not, give your employer the accurate information.
You also can check your earnings record on your Social Security Statement. The Statement is available online to workers age 18 and older.
What if my immigration status or citizenship changed?
If your immigration status changed or you became a U.S. citizen, you should tell Social Security so Social Security can update your records. To get your immigration status or citizenship corrected, you need to show documents that prove your new status or citizenship. Social Security can accept only certain documents as proof of citizenship for new and replacement cards. These include your U.S. passport, a Certificate of Naturalization or a Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.
What if my card is lost or stolen?
You can replace your card or your child’s card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in noncitizen status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.To get a replacement card, you will need to:
• Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5);
• Present an unexpired original document with identifying information and preferably a recent photograph that proves your identity;
• Show evidence of your U.S. citizenship if you were born outside the United States and did not show proof of citizenship when you got your card; and
• Show evidence of your current lawful noncitizen status if you are not a U.S. citizen.
Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.
How can I protect my Social Security number?
You should treat your Social Security number as confidential information and avoid giving it out unnecessarily. You should keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you unless you need to show it to an employer or service provider.Social Security do several things to protect your number from misuse. For example, Social Security requires and carefully inspect proof of identity from people who apply to replace lost or stolen Social Security cards, or for corrected cards. One reason Social Security do this is to prevent people from fraudulently obtaining Social Security numbers to establish false identities. Social Security maintains the privacy of Social Security records unless:
• The law requires us to disclose information to another government agency; or
• Your information is needed to conduct Social Security or other government health or welfare program business.
You should be very careful about sharing your number and card to protect against misuse of your number. Giving your number is voluntary even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask:
• Why your number is needed;
• How your number will be used;
• What happens if you refuse; and
• What law requires you to give your number.The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours.
Contacting Social Security
For more information and to find copies of our publications, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778). Social Security treat all calls confidentially. Social Security can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday. Social Security can provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day.Social Security also want to make sure you receive accurate and courteous service. That is why Social Security have a second SocialSecurity representative monitor some telephone calls.
On October 17, 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a change in the schedule for the release of certain reports due to the lapse in Federal appropriations resulting in the Government shutdown. Among the affected reports is the Farm Labor Survey (FLS) report upon which the Department relies in order to establish the Adverse Effect Wage Rates in the H-2A program. The new release date for the FLS report will be December 5, 2013. To learn more, please read the USDA News Release.
The NPWC uses the Prevailing Wage Determination Policy Guidance in issuing wage determinations for the Nonagricultural Immigration Programs. The Department updated the guidance in November 2009 following the publication of the H-2B regulation and the corresponding changes to PERM, H-1B, H-1B1, H-1C and E-3 regulations that affected the prevailing wage determination process. To read the updated Prevailing Wage guidance, pleaseclick here.
1. The actual process for the Foreign Labor Certification varies depending upon the program being used. This http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov website contains information regarding the process for filing for each of the programs under the Department of Labor's (DOL) jurisdiction. The filing of applications is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee. However, the employee can benefit from understanding the program being utilized in his/her behalf. In general the Department of Labor works to ensure that the admission of foreign workers to work in the U.S. will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. Once a Foreign Labor Certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to seek the immigration authorization from USCIS.
2. Depending upon the nature of the program the process for filing could vary between months and years. To be of assistance, we have provided on our Web site the current processing times in the DOL regions and states. Currently, the process to obtain an employment based temporary labor certification (H-2A, H-2B) usually may take months through the state agency and the DOL regional office. However, H-1B processing usually only takes seven working days. The process to obtain an employment based permanent labor certification can sometimes take up to several months after completing the necessary recruitment steps and filing the application with the National Processing Center. The PERM Processing Times are updated monthly and available for view at http://icert.doleta.gov.
For the employment-based permanent visa, the USCIS may take up to an additional 9 months to process the request. USCIS will provide"premium processing" for some visa categories with an additional fee.
3. Most programs administered by the DOL do not charge fees for a foreign labor certification. Every program does, however, require fees be paid to the USCIS upon filing an application for a visa or greencard. See the individual program (H-2A) for details regarding DOL fees. See the USCIS site for details regarding USCIS fees.
4. An employer should pro-actively and regularly, advisably once a month or less, monitor the status of an electronically filed labor certification application via the Permanent Case Management System, and compare its filing date, i.e., the date the application was submitted for processing, to the PERM processing times posted on the iCERT Visa Portal System (http://icert.doleta.gov/). If there is more than a 30-day difference between the employer's filing date and the PERM processing time, the employer may contact the National Processing Center (NPC) for a status update.
An employer who filed a labor certification application via mail may contact the National Processing Center's Help Desk at 404-893-0101 for a status update.
OFLC appreciates the challenges the regulated community has experienced as a result of the lapse in appropriations, which resulted in the cessation of the operation of OFLC's electronic systems, and further resulted in a backlog of documents submitted to OFLC during that period by mail, hand-delivery, or email. As a result of the government shutdown, OFLC is implementing the following temporary changes to its standard procedures related to document timeliness:
Submissions mailed, couriered, or emailed to OFLC and received between October 1 and October 18:
Submissions are applications that the National Processing Centers (Chicago, Atlanta, or Prevailing Wage Center) could not receive electronically through the iCERT system during the shutdown, and were mailed, delivered by private courier (Federal Express, etc.) or emailed to OFLC. These include Applications for Permanent Employment Certification (PERM, ETA 9089), Applications for Temporary Employment Certification (H-2B, H-2A ETA 9142), and Applications for Prevailing Wage Determinations (ETA 9141).
Because of the backlog in submissions that were mailed, delivered or emailed to OFLC for shutdown-related reasons or otherwise, all submissions received by OFLC between October 1 and October 18 will be considered received on October 18. For example, a PERM application mailed to the Atlanta National Processing Center on October 5 will be given a receipt date of October 18, 2013. If an October 18 receipt date on an application would otherwise render out-of-date the recruitment or prevailing wage determination used for the application, the application will be deemed to have been timely filed for the purpose of the recruitment or the prevailing wage determination.
PERM and H-2B submissions with time-sensitive recruitment or prevailing wage determinations NOT mailed or delivered to OFLC during the shutdown:
Employers that decided not to mail or deliver PERM or H-2B submissions to OFLC because of the shutdown may now have recruitment or prevailing wage determinations that are out-of-date because of the shutdown-related delay. These employers may now mail or file electronically in PERM or iCERT (see note below about iCERT filing) submissions for receipt NO LATER THAN November 14, 2013. This accommodation appliesonly to PERM and H-2B applications that had timely recruitment or prevailing wage determinations during the shutdown period and are now unsuitable for filing due to expired recruitment or prevailing wage determinations. Employers with time-sensitive recruitment or prevailing wage determinations who delayed their filings until after October 18, 2013 will be deemed to have been timely filed for the purpose of the recruitment or the prevailing wage determination. For mailed submissions, please include a pink sheet of paper as a cover page for the submission and label that cover sheet as a "shutdown pre-empted submission" so that it is properly handled in our mailrooms.
Note for PERM and H-2B iCERT filers: PERM and H-2B applications with out-of-date recruitment or prevailing wage determinations may also be submitted electronically. The system will warn the user that the application contains information that will cause the application to be denied, but such an application will not be denied for this reason. As with PERM and H-2B submissions with out-of-date recruitment or prevailing wage determinations that are mailed, no application with expired recruitment or expired prevailing wage determinations will be accepted after November 14, 2013.
Employer responses to OFLC directives that were due between October 1 and October 18, 2013 but were NOT transmitted to OFLC:
In the H-2A, H-2B and PERM programs, some employers may have been directed by OFLC to respond by a deadline that occurred from October 1, 2013 to October 18, 2013. Responses that were due to the OFLC during this period but NOT transmitted will have their due dates extended to November 14, 2013.The deadline extension applies to the following documents in the following programs:
For Prevailing Wage Determinations:
Responses to Requests For Information
In H-2A and H-2B:
Responses to Notices of Deficiencies or Requests for Further Information
Responses to Notices of Intent to Debar
Responses to information requests related to employer sponsorship
Responses to Requests For Information
Responses to requests for review of advertisements in supervised recruitment
Responses to supervised recruitment (Recruitment Instructions Letters)
Responses to Notices of Intent to Revoke or to Debar
Employer responses to OFLC directives that were due between October 1 and October 18, 2013 and were transmitted to OFLC during that period:
Responses to OFLC directives in the H-2A, H-2B and PERM programs (those noted in no. 3 above) that were due between October 1 and October 18, 2013, and were transmitted via mail, hand-delivery or email during that time will be considered received on October 18 and timely.
If an applicant transmitted an application or response by mail, hand-delivery or email between October 1 and October 18, 2013, and the employer has not received notice that the transmission was undeliverable, the employer should NOT re-submit it.
Employers are reminded that if they view a PERM application as erroneously denied during this period based on out-of-date recruitment, they may submit the request for reconsideration to the attention of the government error queue.
None of the temporary procedures established in this notice apply to appeals to the BALCA. Employers are encouraged to contact the BALCA for information related to deadlines applicable to appeals.
The US government plans to punish Indian outsourcing giant Infosys with the largest immigration fine ever for seeking visas fraudulently for workers at big clients in America, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Infosys is accused of putting workers on visitor visas rather than work visas. The former are much easier and cheaper to obtain than the latter. The fine is expected to be about $35 million, the paper said, quoting people close to the matter.