If you wish to work in the United States, you are in luck, because the country has various immigration pathways that can help you achieve your goal and contribute your skills and expertise to the American workforce.
These pathways are designed to accommodate different types of employment needs and qualifications, whether you are a skilled professional or a graduate, there is an immigration pathway that can help live and work in the United States, and one of them is the H2B visa
About the H-2B visa
The H-2B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to work temporarily in the United States in non-agricultural positions. These positions are usually seasonal, and employers often hire H-2B workers to meet temporary labor shortages.
To get this visa, both you and your prospective employer must meet the specific requirements set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Here are the key aspects you need to understand about the H-2B visa:
Seasonal or peak load need
Any employers seeking H-2B visas must prove that there is a seasonal or peak load need, this means that the demand for labor is tied to specific times of the year or certain events, such as tourist seasons or construction projects.
The H-2B visa is strictly for temporary positions, it usually lasts less than a year.
- As an employer, you must obtain a temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), verifying the shortage of U.S. workers for the intended positions.
- In addition, you must adhere to federal, state, and local employment laws, this ensures that there is fair treatment and protection for both U.S. and H-2B workers.
- Protections for workers: Just like everyone else in the US. H-2B workers are entitled to certain rights, including fair wages and safe working conditions, as mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Who is eligible for h2b visa?
You are eligible for the H2B visa if you:
- Have the required qualifications: As a prospective employee, you must possess the necessary skills, experience, or qualifications required for the job. Employers usually specify different educational qualifications or work experience in their job postings, you must meet these qualifications.
- Prove temporary intent: As an applicant, you must demonstrate that you intend to stay in the U.S. temporarily and have a residence in your home country that you have no intention of abandoning. In simple terms, you need to prove that you intend to return to your home country once your visa expires.
- Must be compatible with U.S. workers: As a H-2B worker, you must not be filling a position for which U.S. workers are on strike or are being locked out.
- Do health and background checks: You must undergo a medical examination to ensure that you are fit for employment and do not pose a health risk.
How to Apply for an H-2B visa
If you have gone through the eligibility requirements and found out that you are eligible, follow the steps below to apply.
- Find an eligible employer: Before you start applying, you need to secure a job offer from a U.S. employer who is eligible to hire H-2B workers.
- Obtain a temporary labor certification: The employer must file Form ETA-9142 with the U.S. Department of Labor. This form, also known as the H-2B Application for Temporary Employment Certification, demonstrates the need for foreign workers.
- File Form I-129: Once the labor certification is approved, the employer should file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes your eligibility for the H-2B visa.
- Attend visa interview: If your Form I-129 is approved, you will be required to attend a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
- Wait for visa approval: After the interview, you need to wait for your visa to be approved. Once approved, you can travel to the U.S. and start your temporary employment.
If you have the educational qualification and don’t mind working in the United States in a nonagricultural position for less than a year, the H2B visa will be a great choice for you. To obtain the visa, you need a job offer from a qualified US-based employer who will play a significant role in getting your visa approved.