More Countries Added to Visa Program Eligibility List

Green Card HolderFive additional countries have been added to the list of those eligible counties whose nationals can participate in the H-2A and the H-2B Visa programs in 2015. Nationals from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Madagascar, Portugal and Sweden can now apply for the nonimmigrant visas.

Both the H-2A and the H-2B Visa program are employer-sponsored programs. Each allows employers in the United States to act as sponsors to foreign nationals, bringing them in to the United States. The H-2A and H-2B Visas let these nationals fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) work with the Department of State (DOS) to determine which countries to list on the Federal Register. Last month’s addition of the five counties bring the current listing on the register up to 68.  It’s worth noting, however, that USCIS can still approve H-2A and H-2B Visa applications for petitioners from counties not on the list—if officials determine an applicant’s work is in the best interest of the United States. The designation of each country listed on the Federal Register is valid for one year and then reviewed.

Foreign nationals currently in the United States aren’t affected by the news unless an application to change or extend current status is made.

These 68 countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Visa programs:

Argentina

Fiji

Moldova

Slovenia

Australia

Grenada

Montenegro

Solomon Islands

Austria

Guatemala

Nauru

South Africa

Barbados

Haiti

The Netherlands

South Korea

Belize

Honduras

Nicaragua

Spain

Brazil

Hungary

New Zealand

Sweden

Bulgaria

Iceland

Norway

Switzerland

Canada

Ireland

Panama

Thailand

Chile

Israel

Papua New Guinea

Tonga

Costa Rica

Italy

Peru

Turkey

Croatia

Jamaica

The Philippines

Tuvalu

Czech Republic

Japan

Poland

Ukraine

Denmark

Kiribati

Portugal

United Kingdom

Dominican Republic

Latvia

Romania

Uruguay

Ecuador

Lithuania

Samoa

Vanuatu

El Salvador

Macedonia

Serbia

Estonia

Madagascar

Slovakia

Ethiopia

Mexico