The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Wednesday that it will nearly double the number of H-2B visas normally available each fiscal year for 2023, detailing plans to issue close to 65,000 additional H-2B visas for the coming year.
The H-2B visa program allows employers to temporarily hire noncitizens to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the U.S.
Typically, the DHS makes 66,000 H-2B visas available each fiscal year. The influx of nearly 65,000 additional H-2B visas for fiscal 2023 marks the DHS's largest-ever supplemental visa release.
The move, made in consultation with the Department of Labor, was lauded as a "big win" by the U.S. Travel Association.
"This will provide the travel industry with thousands of workers ahead of the peak travel season, allowing businesses to adequately prepare for a surge in demand," said U.S. Travel CEO Geoff Freeman in a statement.
The supplemental visas began rolling out Oct. 1, which marked the start of the fiscal year.
The latest wave of additional visas includes an allocation of 20,000 visas to workers from Haiti and the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The remaining 44,716 supplemental visas will be available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the past three fiscal years.
This past summer, the DHS also greenlit 35,000 extra H-2B visas in an effort to meet surging demand for labor.