The H-2B visa program is nearly double the size of the original annual cap and set to grow larger: H-2B workers employed in the United States according to approved USCIS petitions and visas issued by the State Department, FY 2015–21, and projected H-2B workers in 2022

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 70,415 6,190 69,684 66,000
2016 87,114 5,237 84,627 66,000
2017 84,241 7,352 83,600 66,000 81,000
2018 83,206 9,773 83,774 66,000 81,000
2019 106,151 11,359 97,623 66,000 96,000
2020 73,131 15,719 61,865 66,000
2021 106,635 19,555 95,053 95,053 66,000 88,000
2022 125,754 19,555 125,754 66,000 121,000

 

Note: "New H-2B workers" column represents USCIS petitions for H-2B workers approved for new employment, minus the number of visas denied for H-2B workers in the same fiscal year (see text). "H-2B visa extensions" represents USCIS petitions for H-2B workers approved for continuing employment (i.e. visa extensions). The line labeled "New visas issued" represents the number of H-2B visas issued by the State Department in the corresponding fiscal year. The "H-2B statutory cap" is set in law at 66,000 new H-2B visas per year. The line labeled "H-2B cap + supplemental cap" is the number of H-2B visas authorized in the statutory cap plus the number of supplemental visas authorized by Congress and the executive branch for the corresponding fiscal year. The column labeled "Projected" are totals that have been projected for fiscal year 2022 (see text). 

Source: EPI analysis of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, H-2B Employer Data Hub, fiscal year 2015-2021 data files, 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 2015-2021].

View the underlying data on epi.org.