Haiti among countries eligible for US H-2A and H-2B visa programs

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U.S. H-2A and H-2B Visa Program: Haiti among eligible countries. DHS is taking applications starting this Thursday, November 10

Nationals of Haiti and about 50 other countries can begin submitting their applications for H-2A and H-2B work visas starting this Thursday, November 10, 2022. The government order was published in the federal newspaper on Thursday. It is the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), which has just announced Wednesday, November 9, 2022, learned ZoomHaitiNews. It is a list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in 2023.

The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States for temporary agricultural and non-agricultural employment, respectively.

Indeed, as of November 10, 2022, the U.S. government informs that nationals of the following countries are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas namely:
Andorra, Kingdom of Eswatini, Madagascar Saint Lucia, Argentina, Fiji, Malta, San Marino, Australia, Finland, Mauritius, Serbia, Austria, France Mexico, Singapore, Barbados, Germany, Monaco Slovakia, Belgium, Greece, Mongolia, Slovenia Bosnia and Herzegovina, Grenada, Montenegro, Solomon Islands, Brazil, Guatemala, Mozambique, South Africa, Brunei, Haiti, Nauru, South Korea, Bulgaria, Honduras, Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Hungary, New Zealand, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Chile, Iceland, Nicaragua, Sweden, Colombia, Ireland, Northern Macedonia, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Israel, Norway, Taiwan, Croatia, Italy, Panama, Thailand, Republic of Cyprus, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Czech Republic, Japan, Paraguay, Turkey, Denmark, Kiribati, Peru, Tuvalu, Dominican Republic, Latvia, Philippines, Ukraine, Ecuador, Liechtenstein, Poland, United Kingdom, El Salvador, Lithuania, Portugal, Uruguay, Estonia, Luxembourg, Romania, Vanuatu.

A special feature this year is the addition of the Kingdom of Eswatini (Eswatini) to the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs. The Department of Homeland Security document states that Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, with the concurrence of Secretary of State Antony Blinkin, made this determination.

However, DHS emphasizes that it retains the authority to amend the lists of eligible countries at any time through publication of a Federal Register notice, if DHS and DOS determine that a country does not meet the requirements for continued designation.

And rightly so, countries could be excluded from these lists for a variety of reasons such as fraud, abuse, non-immigrant visa overstay rates, and other forms of noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the H-2 visa programs by nationals of these countries that are contrary to U.S. interests.

As a general rule, the DHS document continues, USCIS approves H-2A and H-2B petitions only for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. However, USCIS may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions, including those 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 so determined to be in the interest of the United States.

Also exceptional, Mongolia and the Philippines are eligible to participate in the H-2B program but are not eligible to participate in the H-2A program, while Paraguay is eligible to participate in the H-2A program but is not eligible to participate in the H-2B program.

What will also attract attention is the fact that DHS, referring to country, notes that Taiwan, under the Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), stating that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer to 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 the eligibility of nationals of a country for participation in the H-2 program, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i ) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E)(1), are interpreted to include Taiwan. Enough to reignite diplomatic tensions between Greater China and the United States of America, it is believed.

And DHS is careful to note that this is consistent with the U.S. One-China policy, under which the U.S. has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.

Note that, according to U.S. officials, each country’s designation is valid from November 10, 2022 to November 9, 2023, a one-year period.

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