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H-2B Visas for Caregivers

November 12, 2019 in Employment Immigration

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Especially as a large percentage of the population in the United States is aging into senior citizen status, more and more people need assistance at home. In addition, many parents are opting for in-home childcare instead of sending their young children to a daycare facility. Whether you believe you need a caregiver for yourself, a parent, or a child, it is important to find someone willing and able to provide proper care.

AARP has reported a growing gap in available caregivers, stating that “the supply of family caregivers is unlikely to keep pace with future demand.” In the United States, the available caregiver ratio is expected to shrink from seven-to-one to four-to-one in the next decade, which means more people will need to obtain care in nursing homes and other institutions.

If a nursing home or daycare is not the preferred situation, and you cannot find a suitable caretaker to help out, you might want to consider looking outside the United States as another option to find a caregiver. If you find someone, it is important that you follow all necessary procedures to sponsor that caregiver to work in the U.S. so you can avoid unnecessary penalties and immigration consequences. Do not hesitate to consult with our Austin immigration attorneys to learn more about your options.

Obtaining a Nonimmigrant Visa

One way you can bring a caregiver from a foreign country to work in your home is to sponsor them for an H-2B nonimmigrant visa. This is a temporary visa that will allow the caregiver to work in a specific capacity (i.e., in your home) for a specific period of time. The H-2B is specifically for temporary non-agricultural workers.  

To qualify as an H-2B employer, you must follow these steps:

Apply for Temporary Labor Certification

You need to complete and submit an application for temporary labor certification to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). To obtain this certification, you must demonstrate that there are not enough people within the U.S. who are willing to serve as a caregiver in this situation, and that hiring a caregiver from another country would not adversely affect the working conditions or wages of caregivers already in the U.S. You also need to show that your caregiving needs are not permanent.

Apply for the Visa with USCIS

Once you obtain your certification from the DOL, you need to submit Form I-129 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is an extensive form, and you always want to ensure it is accurate and complete. USCIS will review the application and your DOL temporary labor certification to make a decision.

The Caregiver Applies for Their Visa

If USCIS approves your request to sponsor a caregiver for an H-2B visa, the caregiver would need to submit their application for the visa to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country. If approved, they can obtain the visa and enter the United States to begin working as a caregiver for you.

There are 66,000 H-2B visas available each year. In addition, the caregiver must be from a country currently approved for the H-2B program by USCIS.

H-2B Visa Overview

Once your caregiver has their H-2B visa, they can also bring their spouse and children with them to the U.S., as long as the children are not married and are younger than 21. The term of the temporary visa depends on the length of time you need caregiving assistance. Many H-2B visas are for one year, though they can also be extended as needed. If the H-2B visa caregiver returns to their home country for a period of time, it is possible to apply for them to return to provide care again in the future.

There are other options for sponsoring caregivers from foreign countries, such as a J-1 visa through the Au Pair program. You should discuss the best option in your situation with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer.

Discuss Your Options with an H-2B Visa Attorney Today

The legal team at Farmer Farmer & Brown regularly helps clients obtain temporary nonimmigrant visas to fill a labor need, such as caregiving. We can evaluate your options and help you obtain the best visa available for your employees. If you are considering hiring from outside of the U.S., please call 512.894.2128 or contact us online to set up a consultation.

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