The H-2B visa non-immigrant program enables U.S. employers to hire foreign workers, including us Jamaicans, for hospitality, construction and other similar professions for a maximum of three years.
For many Employers in certain U.S. states, seasonal work shortages have been a serious issue for a number of years. They have difficulty finding seasonal American workers and instead use H-2B workers to supplement their staff shortages.
Any Agency in Jamaica, can tell you that the majority of the enquiries received are from applicants wanting to go to the U.S. on the H-2B Program, e-JAM is no exception. e-JAM is licensed to place workers overseas and believe that a ‘global resume’ and experiences through the H-2B Program create the perfect opportunity for our Jobseekers.
Since 2009, the H-2B Program has improved tremendously, long after the Bush administration established the program. The H-2B Program is usable and efficient in providing protection for Jamaican and other foreign workers. Gone are the days when Jamaicans hoping to earn more in working overseas ended up paying a large portion of their foreign earnings in recruitment costs and travel expenses. Some workers even suffer abuse and discrimination from brokers (middlemen) hired by the employers to provide foreign workers.
The costs to go on the H-2B Program
The greatest upside to the improvement is that now the program is absolutely FREE for workers. Yes, you read that right….FREE! Due to the updated regulations of the U.S. Government, the Employer now pays all fees. Workers are however responsible for their housing costs and smaller expenses. But a huge advantage is that H-2B workers are all paid the same as American Workers for doing the same work.
Employers are responsible for the following fees:
- The workers return travel
- US Embassy Visa Voucher
- The Local Agency Processing Fee
This essentially alleviates the pressure from Jobseekers such as yourself!
The honest challenges of the H-2B Program:
Although the program opens the door for many Jamaicans who could not have afforded the fees in the past, unfortunately, the demand for the H-2B program is very high and often times the jobs are scarce.
U.S. employers also face many challenges in hiring foreign workers. Apart from the expense of the program, the whole process has gotten more difficult. Housing for workers tends to be the biggest hurdles for employers in certain geographic areas. One may wonder why they bother with hiring foreign workers, but the reality is they simply don’t have enough Americans in their area to do the work and would not be able to operate their business without foreign workers.
The program has a limit of 66,000 H-2B visas permitted annually by law. Sometimes e-JAM receives H-2B job offers that end up being cancelled due to the annual cap being reached; which prevents Employers from hiring available workers. Once the cap is reached we are only able to place H-2B workers already in the United States and seeking to extend their work visa.
Jamaican workers going on the U.S. H-2B program should be confident that their stay and work experience will be much more rewarding since the new H-2B ruling. Whilst the Program still needs some improvement, the U.S. Government is making an effort to ensure that H-2B workers and their employers operate according to legal standards. H-2B workers do have rights and can get help; they are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the immigration laws.
Register for H-2B with e-JAM, it’s easy!
e-JAM has provided many U.S Employers with qualified H-2B workers over the past twelve years. We are always seeking individuals with winning personalities and can do attitudes, but most importantly, individuals who will be Ambassadors for Jamaica. Persons who are interested in applying for the H-2B program through e-JAM MUST register online and submit a professional resume.
Please note: Registering with e-JAM does not guarantee a job offer. Positions go very quickly and applicants are pre-selected based on the requirements of the U.S. Employer, who makes the final hiring decision. So.....be sure to prepare for the application process and apply as soon as you can.
To get registered, or for more information about the H-2B Program, please visit us online and check our FAQ page for hot topic answers.