Bringing in immigrants

Fast facts about the H-2B visa

The H-2B visa is used by American employers to bring in temporary seasonal workers from other countries for non-agricultural jobs.

The number of H-2B visas is capped at 66,000 per year. Previously, returning workers did not count against the cap; that provision was allowed to expire late last year.

To get H-2B visas, employers must prove to the U.S. Department of Labor that they cannot find qualified American workers. They are required to follow the department's domestic recruitment program, which includes placing help-wanted ads in local media and getting referrals from employment agencies.

Employers must pay H-2B workers the prevailing wage in their area. H-2B employees are covered by all labor laws.

The H-2B visa is valid for a maximum of one year. It can be extended, with the maximum stay limited to three years.

Workers on H-2B visas have taxes and other withholding deducted from their paychecks.