The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) along with the Department of State (DoS) has finalized a list of 58 countries that will be eligible for participation in the H-2A and H-2B program. Apart from the 53 countries already on the list, Haiti, Iceland, Montenegro, Spain and Switzerland have been added for the first time. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that this list will be published in the Federal Register and will be in effect from January 18, 2012 for a period of one year.
The 58 countries on the list this year are: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Vanuatu.
The H-2A and H-2B program allows U.S. employers to bring in to the U.S., temporary workers to be employed in agricultural and non-agricultural jobs respectively. USCIS may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions only for nationals from the eligible countries. USCIS may approve petitions of nationals from countries not on the list only if it proves to be beneficial for the United States.
This list does not affect the status of the H-2A and H-2B visa holders who are currently in the U.S. unless they plan to extend or change their status.