Policies Regarding the H-2B Returning Worker Classification

In May of this year, President Bush signed into law the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005. Part of this Act provided that if an applicant has been issued an H2B visa from an approved petition in any of the last three fiscal years, that applicant is not counted against this fiscal year’s annual limit. This new category is specifically called the H2R category.

Applicants (or their employers) wishing to be considered for this category must have an approved I-129 petition received from the Department of Homeland Security. This petition must contain a certification from the petitioning employer that states that the applicant is a returning worker. In addition, an official from DHS must also verify that this applicant received a visa in at least one of the last three fiscal years prior to the fiscal year of the current approved start date.

A representative from DHS will check every H2B petition in which the beneficiary has been stamped a returning worker. If there is only one worker listed on the petition, the petition will receive one of the following three stamps:

  • Returning Worker Verified by KCC
  • Possible Returning Worker Determined by KCC
  • No Evidence of Returning Worker Determined by KCC

If there are multiple names on the petition, the petition will be stamped with the following text: Includes Returning Workers, See Attached. The attached document will be a spreadsheet with the KCC’s receipt of petition date, the petitioner and receipt number, the employees name and date and place of birth.

The creation of this additional category will enable more H-2B workers to enter and be gainfully employed in the U.S. and will ensure that U.S. companies that depend on these workers will have access to their labor.

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