The H-2B visa program is more than double the size of the original annual cap and set to grow larger in 2023: H-2B workers employed in the United States according to approved USCIS petitions and visas issued by the State Department, FY 2015–22

Year New H-2B workers  H-2B extensions New visas issued New visas issued H-2B statutory cap H-2B cap + supplemental cap H-2B cap + supplemental cap
2015 70,180 6,190 69,684 66,000
2016 85,203 5,237 84,627 66,000
2017 84,037 7,352 83,600 66,000 81,000
2018 84,752 9,773 83,774 66,000 81,000
2019 99,011 11,359 97,623 66,000 96,000
2020 65,716 15,719 61,865 66,000
2021 97,129 19,555 95,053 95,053 66,000 88,000
2022 126,426  29,223  124,644 66,000 121,000


Notes: “New H-2B workers” represents the number of new H-2B workers estimated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). “H-2B extensions” represents USCIS petitions for H-2B workers approved for continuing employment (i.e., visa extensions or extensions of status), as reported in the USCIS H-2B Employer Data Hub. Data on continuing employment may overcount the number of individual H-2B workers because those data also include H-2B workers who changed employers or amended their terms of employment with the same employer. “New visas issued” is the number of H-2B visas issued by the State Department. 

Source: EPI analysis of data from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, H-2B Employer Data Hub, fiscal year 2015–2022 data files; Characteristics of H-2B Nonagricultural Temporary Workers reports for fiscal years 2015–2021, available at the USCIS Reports and Studies page; and U.S. Department of State, “Nonimmigrant Visa Statistics” (see PDF files for tables listed under “Nonimmigrant Worldwide Issuance and Refusal Data by Visa Category” and “Nonimmigrant Visas by Individual Class of Admission” for fiscal years 2015–2022). 

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