USCIS Announces Addition of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Eligible Countries for the H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, have added St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs for the coming year. The notice listing the eligible countries was published on Oct. 26, 2016 in the Federal Register. DHS reserves the right to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at any time DHS determines that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation.

The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively. Typically, USCIS only approves H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. USCIS, however, may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is determined to be in the interest of the United States.

Effective Jan. 18, 2017, nationals of the following countries are eligible to participate in the H‑2A and H-2B visa programs:

Andorra

Fiji

Madagascar

Slovakia

Argentina

Finland

Malta

Slovenia

Australia

France

Moldova*

Solomon Islands

Austria

Germany

Mexico

South Africa

Barbados

Greece

Monaco

South Korea

Belgium

Grenada

Montenegro

Spain

Belize

Guatemala

Nauru

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Brazil

Haiti

The Netherlands

Sweden

Brunei

Honduras

Nicaragua

Switzerland

Bulgaria

Hungary

New Zealand

Taiwan**

Canada

Iceland

Norway

Thailand

Chile

Ireland

Panama

Timor-Leste

Colombia

Israel

Papua New Guinea

Tonga

Costa Rica

Italy

Peru

Turkey

Croatia

Jamaica

The Philippines

Tuvalu

Czech Republic

Japan

Poland

Ukraine

Denmark

Kiribati

Portugal

United Kingdom

Dominican Republic

Latvia

Romania

Uruguay

Ecuador

Lichtenstein

Samoa

Vanuatu

El Salvador

Lithuania

San Marino

 

Estonia

Luxembourg

Serbia

 

Ethiopia

Macedonia

Singapore

 

*Moldova is designated to participate in the H-2A program, but it is not eligible to participate in the H-2B program.

** With respect to all references to “country” or “countries” in this document, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), provides that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan.” 22 U.S.C. § 3303(b)(1). Accordingly, all references to “country” or “countries” in the regulations governing whether nationals of a country are eligible for H-2 program participation, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E)(1), are read to include Taiwan. This is consistent with the United States’ one-China policy, under which the United States has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.

This notice does not affect the status of beneficiaries who currently are in the United States in H-2A or H-2B status unless they apply to change or extend their status. Each country’s designation is valid for one year from Jan. 18, 2017.

For more information on these programs, see the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers page and the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers page.

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