USCIS Withdraws Proposed Rule Amending the H-2B Visa Program

USCIS has just withdrawn a proposed rule that would amend H-2B regulations. The proposed rule, Petitions for Aliens to Perform Nonagricultural Temporary Services or Labor (H-2B), was published in late January of 2005. It proposed changes to USCIS regulations that aimed to increase the effectiveness of the H-2B program and provide additional protection for U.S. workers.

The proposed rule would have established a process for U.S. employers wishing to hire temporary H-2B workers to petition for those workers in a one-step process. With the rule, employers would have no longer needed to apply for labor certification from the Department of Labor and would have eliminated the use of agents as petitioners of H-2B visas. In addition, it would have required electronic filing of Form I-129, the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, within 60 days of the requested employment start date.

Based on public comments regarding the proposed rule, USCIS has withdrawn it and will soon publish a new, revised proposed rule regarding these new restrictions and policies.

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