The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the Department of State (DOS), has determined which countries and their nationals will be eligible to participate in H-2A and H-2B visa programs in 2023. This list has been released and will be added to the Federal Register on November 10, 2022.
Effective November 10, 2022, the following countries have been added to the list:
- Kingdom of Eswatini
The DHS does retain the right to remove or amend eligible countries at any time through a Federal Register Notice in the instance that a country no longer meets the requirements for continued designation. Instances such as abuse, fraud, nonimmigrant visa overstay rates, and more can all be factors for being removed from the approved countries list.
Effective November 10, 2022, nationals of the following countries are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas:
NOTE*Mongolia and the Philippines are eligible to participate in the H-2B program but are not eligible to participate in the H-2A program.
**Paraguay is eligible to participate in the H-2A program but is not eligible to participate in the H-2B program.
If you are already in the US on an H-2 visa, this notice will not affect you until or if you apply to extend your stay if filed on or after the date of publication. It would also not affect your eligibility if you have already applied and have an approved H-2 petition prior to the date of this publication. It does affect those who are applying to change status in the US as a nonimmigrant.
What are the H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs?
The H-2A program allows employers in the US to bring foreign nationals over to the US to fill temporary agricultural jobs, while the H-2B program fills temporary nonagricultural jobs. The visa holder can stay in the US while filling the designated temporary position for the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification, or of a maximum of up to 3 years stay.
In order for these visas to be approved, the employer must show that:
- The job is of a temporary or seasonal nature.
- Demonstrate that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
- Show that employing H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.