The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the completion of the random selection of H-2B visas for the second half of the 2018 fiscal year. USCIS will reject and return the petitions and associated filing fees to petitioners that were not selected.
The first half of the cap was met in December, nearly a month earlier than the previous year, leaving an influx of applications submitted for the second half of the year. The USCIS received requests for approximately 47,000 workers in five business days, exceeding the cap. To expedite the selection process, USCIS announced they would use a randomized lottery process to issue the visas.
According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, more than 60 percent of seasonal businesses were unsuccessful in getting their H-2B workers.
"We're disappointed with how things are progressing thus far," said Paul Mendelsohn, vice president of government relations for NALP. "But we're still confident that there's time for Congress to recognize the importance of taking action and doing so before any economic peril that is possible becomes a reality."
Mendelsohn says the association is focusing on lobbying for the inclusion of language in the budget bill that includes cap relief. The bill has a deadline of March 23.
"We've been encouraging members to contact their members of Congress as we always do, but we've asked them to describe the ramifications that can be expected if they don't get their workers," he said.