U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on January 14, 2010 announced that 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. A new list of eligible countries publishes in a Federal Register notice on January 18, 2011, and the designations are valid for one year from the date of publication.
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. A national from a country that is not on the list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A and H-2B petition if the Secretary of Homeland Security determines, in her sole and unreviewable discretion, that it is in the U.S. interest for the alien to be a beneficiary of the petition.