Oxbow Bend, Snake River

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

All Visas Are Not Created Equal

Patty Ceglio

Seasonal Employers have long been involved with the Work and Travel Program – this “Exchange Visitor Program promotes mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by educational and cultural exchanges.” These international students-turned-employees add a flair to staffs, help create a dynamic workforce at times of the season when more traditional US-based college-aged employees must return to campus, and bring a 21st Century twist to the very spirit the United States was built on.

In addition to the Work and Travel Program (aka J1 Program), some seasonal employers have turned to another employee resource in order to keep staff numbers sufficient during key seasons in remote and/or resort areas. The H2B Visa Program allows for longer stays, non-students and other components that the J1 Program does not allow. The H-2B  program “allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary, nonagricultural jobs.”

To qualify for H-2B non-immigrant classification, the petitioner must establish that:

  • There are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
  • Employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
  • Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary.Click here to read more at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

If you have survived the miles of red tape to secure H2B Visa positions, you know that it’s not for the faint of heart. However, even if your H2B employees have “left the building”, you could be held accountable for “things you didn’t know you needed to know”, as noted here:

Reminder: Certain Fees May Not Be Collected From H-2A and H-2B Workers

For additional information, click here for the Department of Labor web site.