USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, have added St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs for the coming year. The notice listing the eligible countries was published on Oct. 26, 2016 in the Federal Register. DHS reserves the right to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at any time DHS determines that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation.

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 only approves H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. USCIS, however, may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is determined to be in the interest of the United States.

Effective Jan. 18, 2017, nationals of the following countries are eligible to participate in the H‑2A and H-2B visa programs:

Andorra

Fiji

MadagascarSlovakia
Argentina

Finland

MaltaSlovenia
Australia

France

Moldova*Solomon Islands
Austria

Germany

MexicoSouth Africa
Barbados

Greece

MonacoSouth Korea
Belgium

Grenada

MontenegroSpain
Belize

Guatemala

NauruSt. Vincent and the Grenadines
Brazil

Haiti

The NetherlandsSweden
Brunei

Honduras

NicaraguaSwitzerland
Bulgaria

Hungary

New ZealandTaiwan**
Canada

Iceland

NorwayThailand
Chile

Ireland

PanamaTimor-Leste
ColombiaIsraelPapua New GuineaTonga
Costa Rica

Italy

PeruTurkey
Croatia

Jamaica

The PhilippinesTuvalu
Czech RepublicJapanPolandUkraine
DenmarkKiribatiPortugalUnited Kingdom
Dominican RepublicLatvia

Romania

Uruguay
EcuadorLichtensteinSamoaVanuatu
El SalvadorLithuania

San Marino

 
EstoniaLuxembourg

Serbia

 
EthiopiaMacedonia

Singapore

 

*Moldova is designated to participate in the H-2A program, but it is not eligible to participate in the H-2B program.

** With respect to all references to “country” or “countries” in this document, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), provides that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer 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 whether nationals of a country are eligible for H-2 program participation, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E)(1), are read to include Taiwan. This is consistent with the United States’ one-China policy, under which the United States has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.

This notice does not affect the status of beneficiaries who currently are in the United States in H-2A or H-2B status unless they apply to change or extend their status. Each country’s designation is valid for one year from Jan. 18, 2017.

For more information on these programs, see the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers page and the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers page.