When people in Florida think of temporary worker visas to the United States, they may first consider agricultural laborers. Farms and agricultural businesses often make use of these programs to bring large numbers of workers to the U.S. for part of the year to work on the harvest and other heavy work. Without temporary workers from abroad, there would be an insufficient number of people available to complete the work and keep the American food system running. However, temporary worker programs are not only applicable in the field of agriculture. H-2B visas, for temporary non-agricultural workers, may be used to bring foreign workers to the U.S. to fill seasonal positions when there are not enough U.S. workers to do so.
In most cases, H-2B visas are used for positions that are seasonal, similar to agricultural work, but not related to farming. Jobs at hotels, resorts and amusement parks often fit this category, as they may be open only a few months of the year and enjoy a substantial demand for labor during that period. These are business immigration visas, and individual applicants cannot seek on their own to come to the U.S. and seek temporary employment. Employers or their representatives must apply for these visas for individuals they plan to hire.
As part of the application, they must show that they need additional employees seasonally and cannot meet the demand by hiring locally. The positions involved must be temporary, and they may not replace regular full- or part-time workers. A successful H-2B application is issued for one year but can be renewed for a three-year maximum.
Temporary worker visas may be particularly important in certain industries that depend on high seasonal volume. An immigration law attorney may advise employers about how they can make use of the H-2B program to fill their temporary labor gaps.