H-2B for skilled and unskilled workers

Whilst the H-2A visa applies for temporary workers in the agricultural, the H-2B is for temporary workers that are not within the agriculture industry. These jobs are where employers have struggled to find US workers that are able to do the temporary work and must therefore employ foreign nationals to do the essential work. Only nationals of the countries that have been agreed by the DHS are eligible for a H-2B visa, see the full list of countries here.
Along the same rules as the H2-A visa, employers must be able to show that there are insufficient US workers that are able and willing to do the work. They must also be able to show that the wages and working conditions they offer will not adversely affect US workers performing similar jobs.
There are two main definitions of temporary workers for the H-2B visa, the first includes work that is a one-time occurrence, where the employee will only be hired for the short period required. The second type of for seasonal work, where they require workers for a particular time of the year. Additionally, peak load and intermittent workers can fall under the eligibility for H2-B visa work.

Process of applying for H-2B visa

To grant a H-2B to a foreign national, the company petitioning for the work mustsubmit a temporary labor certificate application to the Department of Labor. If they are provided with the certificate then the next step is to submit a Form I-129 to the USCIS, including the certificate in the application. If the form is approved, then the next stage is for the worker to apply for the H-2B visa through their country’s US Embassy.
The length of time granted on the temporary labor certificate will usually dictate the length of the visa, although extensions can be made in some cases and will require a new temporary labor certificate.
For H-2B visa holders who want to take their family and children with them, it is currently possible to apply for H-4 visa but the DHS are reviewing the criteria for employment under the H-4 and applicants should check the latest information regarding this before they apply for their visa.

Other Visas


L-1 for company transfers

The L-1 visa is available for a US company to transfer an employee from an office in another country to go and work in their office in the US. It can also be used for when companies are looking to open a US operation to move executives and managers over to.

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H1-B for Speciality Occupation

Graduate level workers wanting to work in the US are able to apply for a H1-B visa for speciality occupations. This enables US companies to employ foreign skilled workers for in-demand jobs such as in IT, medicine, finance, engineering and numerous other speciality occupations that are highly valued in the US. H1-B visas are valid for three years, with extensions possible, providing that the terms are still valid, i.e. you are still working in the role.

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B-2 for pleasure or for medical treatment

The B-2 visa enables tourists to enter the US, where an ESTA is not applicable either because the applicant is not from one the Visa Waiver Program countries, or because their intended trip is for longer than the duration limit of the ESTA (90 days). The B2 visa is often referred to as the tourist visa USA and can also be used for travellers that are going to the US to receive medical treatment.

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