How to Obtain Temporary Hospitality, Retail, and Service Industry Workers Through the H-2B Visa Program

One of the biggest complaints in the hospitality, retail, and service industries is the difficulty in finding and retaining a reliable workforce. Over the past few years, there has been high turnover as companies struggle to recruit and retain workers. However, for employers who need to add to their workforce, there is the option to bring workers from other countries to the United States for a temporary period of nine months out of the year. The H-2B visa permits US employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States for the purposes of filling temporary, non-agricultural jobs, typically in the hospitality, retail, and service industries, such as hotels; ski resorts; water parks; golf courses; amusement parks; restaurants; cruise ships; and the landscaping, groundskeeping, forestry, construction, and meat/fish processing industries.

Who Qualifies for H-2B Classification?

To be eligible for an H-2B visa, the candidate must be a citizen of one of the countries on the H-2B Eligible Countries List. In addition, to qualify for H-2B nonimmigrant classification, the petitioner must establish that:

  • There are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
  • Employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
  • Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary.  The employer’s need is considered temporary if it falls under one of the following categories:
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H-2B Visas for Temporary Non-Agricultural Jobs at Hotels, Ski Resorts, Landscaping Companies, and Entertainment Companies

ski instructorThe H-2B program permits United States employers and agents to bring foreign nationals to the United States for the purposes of filling temporary, non-agricultural jobs.  An H-2B visa is generally used for non-specialty employees who will fulfill a temporary, seasonal, peak-time, or one time employment position.  The H-2B classification is commonly used by employers such as hotel resorts, ski resorts, landscaping companies, and entertainment companies that have a regular, temporary need for trained, unskilled labor.

The H-2B application process involves multiple steps and two separate government organizations: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Labor. Continue reading