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DHS Unveils Approved Countries for Participation in H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

DHS and DOS Collaborate to Determine Eligible Countries for H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs in 2024

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coordination with the Department of State (DOS), has unveiled the official lists of countries whose citizens are qualified to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs for the upcoming year. The comprehensive notice, set to be published in the Federal Register on November 9, 2023, outlines the selected nations eligible for these temporary work visa initiatives.

As of November 9, 2023, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in agreement with the Secretary of State, has made the decision to include Bolivia in the list of eligible countries for both the H-2A and H-2B programs. The DHS retains the authority to modify the list of eligible countries at any time through the issuance of a Federal Register Notice, based on assessments by DHS and DOS, considering factors such as fraud, abuse, visa overstay rates, and noncompliance with H-2 visa program terms.

The H-2A and H-2B visa programs permit U.S. employers to recruit foreign nationals for temporary agricultural and nonagricultural positions. Typically, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves petitions only for nationals of countries designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security. However, on a case-by-case basis, USCIS may approve petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is deemed in the interest of the United States.

Effective November 9, nationals of various countries, including Bolivia, are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas. The eligibility list spans countries from Andorra to Vanuatu, covering a range of nations worldwide.

It is important to note that Mongolia and the Philippines are eligible for the H-2B program but not the H-2A program, while Paraguay is eligible for the H-2A program but not the H-2B program. Additionally, references to “country” or “countries” in the document include Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.

The notice specifies that the eligibility status does not impact current H-2 beneficiaries in the United States unless they seek an extension based on a petition filed after the Federal Register Notice publication date. Similarly, the notice does not affect the eligibility of current H-2 beneficiaries to apply for a visa or seek admission based on a previously approved petition. The designation for each country remains valid from November 9, 2023, until November 8, 2024.

For more detailed information on the H-2A and H-2B visa programs, interested parties can refer to the respective pages on the DHS website.

Source: USCIS