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United States/Canadian-Media: It was announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the Department of State (DOS) list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in 2021.
Department of Homeland Security. Image credit: Twitter handle
DHS maintains its authority to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at the time it publishes a new list, if these fails to meet the requirements for continued designation as determined by the DHS and DOS determine.
Factors including fraud, abuse, denial rates, overstay rates, human trafficking concerns, and other forms of noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the H-2 visa programs could result in the exclusion of a country or the removal of a country from the list.
The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively.
Typically, 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, H-2A and H-2B petitions may be approved by USCIS, including those that were pending as of the date of the Federal Register notice, for nationals of countries not on the list on a case-by-case basis only if it is in the interest of the United States based on submitted evidence.
The notice listing the eligible countries will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 13, 2021.