COVID-19 and the measures to contain its spread area affecting H-2B employers on several levels.
On March 18, 2020, the Department of State issued a statement suspending all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services. An exception exists for H-2B applicants, however individual Consulates seems to have a different approach to visa issuance. For example, consulates in Mexico are issuing visas only to applicants who had an H-2B visa in the past 2 years. New applicants will require an in-person interview, which is not possible at the moment due to coronavirus restrictions. Also, several Consulates are denying H-2B visas because the officer believes that the services are no longer needed, due to stay-at-home orders. This should not be an obstacle for workers coming to perform services designated as essential by the state where work will be performed. I recommend checking your state’s list of essential services and send a printout with your visa applicants.
These employers must file a petition with USCIS and request a change or extension of status for their workers. H-2B workers cannot start working for the new employer unless the petition is approved. USCIS has suspended the Premium Processing Services, which guarantees a decision within 2 weeks. Without premium processing, the Vermont Service Center, for example, will take 2 to 4 months to approve H-2B visa petitions. If you are in this situation, we may be able to assist in expediting this process, so please contact our attorneys for legal help at 800-223-2814.
Those employers face a difficult choice. An employer must guarantee work for ¾ of the hours for each 12-week period for the duration of the job order to all H-2B workers. That means employers must continue to pay its H-2B employees whether or not they work. If the employer chooses to terminate the contract, the ¾ guarantee will be excused because the coronavirus outbreak will be considered an act of God. However, even if they terminate the contact, the employer is liable until the effective date of termination and must pay for the workers’ return transportation.
DHS and DOL have recognized that the demand for H-2B visas is much higher than the available cap. For fiscal years 2018 and 2019, in an effort to mitigate that demand, they authorized additional H-2B visa numbers. Early on in this filing cycle in February 2020, DHS announced that they are prepared to release additional numbers this year as well. Due to the pandemic, in early April, DHS announced that these plans are on hold.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for our latest LIVE with PPID videos by >> CLICKING HERE.
Helping Injured Victims in New York and New Jersey Since 2004
CONSTRUCTION WORKER FALLS ON HEAD FROM SCISSOR LIFT
PASSENGER STRUCK BY MTA BUS DOOR
MTA BUS ACCIDENT RESULTS IN LEG FRACTURE
PASSENGER INJURED IN VEHICLE
PEDESTRIAN HIT BY CAR
FAILURE TO PROPERLY MONITOR PATIENT DURING PROCEDURE
TRIP & FALL ACCIDENT DUE TO CITY NEGLIGENCE
PEDESTRIAN STRUCK BY BUS
PEDESTRIAN STRUCK BY FORKLIFT
REAR-END ACCIDENT RESULTS IN KNEE SURGERY
SINGLE CAR ACCIDENT DUE TO OPEN MANHOLE
REAR-END CAR ACCIDENT
CONSTRUCTION WORKER SCAFFOLD FALL
"The last of our 3 kids had his citizenship ceremony yesterday - we are pleased to report that we will have 3 voters at the coming election. We want to thank you and your crew for what has been a simple process for us. Very efficient, professional and easy in every way. Many thanks, -Gelhard, M. I really appreciate your dedication to customer service and will definitely be doing business with you for any of my future needs. Thanks again!" - Lopez, P
"Thanks so much for all your help it was really appreciated." - Carline and Varnel
"Mr. Pollack and Staff, You were there when we needed the most. Thank you very much!" - Alte, M.
"Thank you for your dedication on my case. I really appreciate every moment spent bringing this case to a financial result. " - Amy