Created by Congress in 1986, the H2B program was established as a means to assist seasonal, non-agricultural employers who experience a shortage in domestic labor. Via the H2B program, employers can legally employ foreign workers for a seasonal, temporary need. Employers must, however, be able to prove a temporary need based on a season of the year, a peak load activity, a one-time occurrence, or an intermittent need.
What do I need to do to start the process?
Contact Southern Impact to discuss your labor needs. Describe your business and the positions that need to be filled in order for your operation to be successful. Southern Impact will send you the appropriate application to begin the certification process.
How soon do I need to apply?
Employers should contact Southern Impact at least 6 months prior to the date workers are needed.
Is there considerable paperwork involved in the process of getting an employee?
Southern Impact's application forms are user friendly and require only the information needed to gain approval for the H2B program. Southern Impact handles the DOL and USCIS applications for you.
How soon can I expect my approval?
Prior to filing an H2B application, a Prevailing Wage Request must be submitted to DOL, which may take 4-6 weeks to obtain. Upon receipt of the Prevailing Wage Determination, an application may be submitted to DOL and required recruitment must take place. Once DOL issues the approved Labor Certification, a petition must be filed with USCIS. Depending on USCIS processing times, petition approval can take several weeks/months. Note: H2B employers have the option to pay USCIS for premium processing. In this case, USCIS guarantees processing in 15 days. The entire certification process can take 4-6 months.
For how long is an H2B valid?
DOL will approve H2B labor certifications for up to 10 months, provided you have a legitimate seasonal need.
What are the wage requirements?
Employers must pay the highest of the Prevailing Wage or local/state/Federal minimum wage. Southern Impact will assist you in determining the prevailing wage rate.
Are H2B employers required to provide housing?
No, H2B employers are not required to provide housing; however, we recommend employers facilitate housing for workers prior to their arrival. If an employer chooses to provide housing, he may deduct a reasonable amount for rent.
Are H2B workers subject to taxation?
H2B workers are subject to the same taxes as US employees.
Can my H2B workers work for other employers?
No, H2B workers are issued an H2B visa that is employer specific for a set period of time. It is not valid for any other employment.
What are the employer's requirements to employ H2B workers?
The employer is required to place newspaper ads and open a job order with the employment office in an attempt to recruit US workers who are able, willing, and qualified to perform the job. Employers must cooperate with the State Workforce Agency in the referral of US workers and consider those who apply as a result of the newspaper advertisements. Southern Impact facilitates the recruitment process as part of our service to the employer.
The employer must pay the worker for costs incurred by the worker from the place of recruitment to the place of employment when one-half of the work contract is complete. Upon completion of the entire contract, the employer shall pay for the worker's transportation and daily subsistence from the place of employment to the place from which the worker came.
Tools & Supplies
The employer must provide the tools necessary to perform the job duties at no cost to the workers.
The employer must guarantee employment for at least three-fourths of the workdays each 12 week period.
The employer must pay or reimburse the worker (in the first workweek) for all Embassy appointment fees, visa processing fees, border crossing fees, and other related fees incurred by the H2B worker, passport fees excluded. Employers may not seek payment/reimbursement of any kind from H2B workers for fees associated with obtaining H2B certification. Employers must also pay all fees associated in obtaining driver’s licenses, CDL’s, or any other certifications required to perform the job duties for which H2B workers are hired. Additionally, employers must contractually forbid agents, both domestic and foreign, from collecting fees for any activity related to the H2B program.
Social Security Numbers
After H2B workers arrive in the US, they must apply for a Social Security Number by providing their passport, I-94, and work visa to the local Social Security office.
Employers must keep accurate and adequate earning records and must furnish to the worker, on or before each payday, a written statement. Pay records and pay stubs must meet DOL requirements.
**This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of H2B requirements. Other conditions apply and may vary depending on the nature of the employer’s business.