On January 1, 2019 the H2B Visa Application System crashed from the number of applicants trying to get new workers for the 2019 year. At the time of the crash, over 97,000 applications were received for the H2B Visa in the first 15 minutes of the opening time. This number does not count those who could not login to apply due to the crash.
The H2B Visa program in 2014 was dominated by landscaping positions, but as the labor shortage continues to grow, new departments have entered this program. Landscaping is now just a genre among hospitality, manufacturing, construction, and other types of work.
Last year, there were 120,000 applicants for the H2B Visa. This program only supports 33,000 positions. This means around 87,000 applications were denied in 2018. All applications are reviewed based on their timestamp and this is why there is a rush to send in the application resulting in a system collapse.
The application portal will reopen today at 2 PM and with everyone on alert to readily submit their applications once again, the system may not be able to handle the high volume.
As mentioned in our last blog post, this is an unpredictable program. If you were to apply on January 1 and everything goes smoothly, with no interruptions, you would not know if your application was approved until mid February. For those who start their busy season in the spring, this may not be enough time to figure out how to get workers fast.
We are encouraging all of our clients to start requesting workers for spring right now. When the mass of those who do not get approved for visas need workers, worker requests will be on "back order."
Now is the time to gear up for spring. Hercules can start bringing in two-to-three workers per week for you and have you at 30 workers by March leaving you stress-free and confident for the busy season.