U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday, December 8 launched a pilot
program for exiting H-2A and H-2B temporary workers. The program will be tested
at San Luis and Douglas land ports of entry in Arizona and it is expected to
last approximately one year.
The goal is to ensure that temporary workers comply with the requirement to
leave the country when their work authorization expires. The program
will also help secure U.S. borders more effectively and streamline existing
guest worker programs.
H-2A and H-2B visas are issued to temporary seasonal workers. H-2A visas allow
foreign nationals to temporarily work in agricultural jobs while H-2B visas
allow temporary work in non-agricultural jobs.
To verify final departure from the United States, H-2A and H-2B non-immigrant
temporary workers will be required to scan their visa and their fingerprints
and return their I-94, Arrival/Departure form, at an exit kiosk located at
the port of departure. Under the pilot program, travelers admitted under H-2A
and H-2B non-immigrant visa classifications at San Luis or Douglas ports of
entry must also depart through one of the two designated ports.
The kiosk will provide instructions in English and Spanish.
Frequent border crossers or commuters do not need to register their every departure, but only their final departure from the United States. Only H-2A and H-2B temporary workers who enter the United States on or after December 8, on a new work authorization will be required to register their final departure from the United States when their authorized period of stay expires.
More than 205,000 H-2 guest workers crossed into United States in FY 2009. Of
those, more than 147,000 were H-2A and more than 58,000 were H-2B visa holders.