CBO is providing information about its analysis of section 565 of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2016 (Division F of H.R. 2029, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016), as signed into law on December 18, 2015. CBO estimates that in fiscal year 2016, section 565 will increase the number of workers in the United States in H-2B status by about 8,000, and will increase direct spending in that year by $1 million.
Section 565 exempts aliens who received H-2B nonimmigrant status in fiscal years 2013, 2014, or 2015 from counting against the annual cap on people receiving that status in fiscal year 2016. H-2B is a temporary status for nonagricultural workers (for example, workers in landscaping and forestry). In general, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) caps the number of individuals receiving H-2B status at 66,000 per year. As amended by section 565, the INA now specifies that “an alien who has already been counted toward the numerical limitation…during fiscal year 2013, 2014, or 2015 shall not again be counted toward such limitation during fiscal year 2016.”