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December 2022: DHS Announces Countries Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

01 Dec

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Update Applicable to:
All employers with immigrant workers.

What happened?
On November 9, 2022, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), announced the lists of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in the next year.

What are the details?
Effective November 10, 2022, the secretary of homeland security, with the concurrence of the secretary of state, has decided to:

86 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A program, and 87 countries are eligible to participate in the H-2B program for the coming year.

  • Add the Kingdom of Eswatini (Eswatini) to the countries eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs.

DHS maintains its authority to amend the eligible countries lists at any time through the publication of a Federal Register Notice, should DHS and DOS determine that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation. Examples of factors that could result in the exclusion of a country or the removal of a country from the list include fraud, abuse, nonimmigrant visa overstay rates, and other forms of noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the H-2 visa programs by nationals of that country that are contrary to U.S. interest.

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. Typically, USCIS approves H-2A and H-2B petitions only for nationals of countries designated by the secretary of homeland security as eligible to participate in the programs. However, USCIS may approve H-2A, and H-2B petitions, including those that were pending as of the date of publication of the Federal Register Notice, for nationals of countries not on the lists on a case-by-case basis only if doing so is determined to be in the interest of the United States.

Effective November 10, 2022, nationals of the following countries found in this link are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas.

For more information, please see the links below:

Federal Register Article

USCIS Article

Eligible Countries

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and review their immigrant employees to see if they are eligible for the H-2A program or the H-2B program and provide them with the necessary information.

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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