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Extra H-2B Visas available through Sept. 30

by Sarah Riley | Jan 10, 2023

In the last days of the 117th Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed – and the President signed - an omnibus appropriations bill for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2023. The FY 23 Omnibus includes language extending the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to increase the number of H-2B visas by 65,000, through Sept. 30. This is a positive development that ensures that extra visas will be available for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. It also continues the success that GCSAA and our allies have been having in persuading federal decision-makers of the importance of this program to golf and other seasonal employers. 

GCSAA fought hard for the inclusion of language to increase H-2B Visas beyond the arbitrarily low 66,000 cap. This included lobbying both Congress and the Executive Branch. We first saw success on Dec. 15, when the DHS published a rule increasing the number of visas available for FY 23 by 64,716. Now, the FY 23 Omnibus guarantees that these 64,716 visas will in fact be available.

Here’s how the additional visas are broken down:

  1. 18,216 visas are immediately available for employment start dates on or before March 31, 2023.
  2. 16,500 visas will be available for employment start dates from April 1, 2023 to May 14, 2023.
  3. 10,000 visas will be available for employment start dates from May 15, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2023.

These visas are limited to returning workers, i.e., workers who had a H-2B visas in the past three years (2020, 2021 or 2022). 

  1. On top of that, 20,000 more visas are reserved for workers from the “Northern Triangle” countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, regardless of whether they are returning workers or not. These visas are available immediately.

This is the highest number of additional visas ever secured for the H-2B program.  It shows that golf’s lobbying efforts had made a difference with federal decision-makers. GCSAA will continue our efforts in the upcoming months to build on this success.