U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, has identified 53 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs for the coming year.
The H-2A program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs; the H-2B program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States for temporary nonagricultural jobs.
USCIS, with limited exception, approves petitions only for nationals of countries designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security as eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs.
Effective Jan. 18, 2011, nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Nauru, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vanuatu.
Of these countries, the following were designated for the first time this year: Barbados, Estonia, Fiji, Hungary, Kiribati, Latvia, Macedonia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
After considering a number of relevant factors under the governing regulations, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State have determined that Indonesia currently does not warrant a renewed designation as a participating country in the H-2A and H-2B programs for 2011.
This new list does not affect the status of individuals who currently hold valid H-2A or H-2B visas or status.