A January 14, 2011 press release titled, “New Countries Eligible to Participate in H-2A and H-2B Programs” by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the addition of more countries allowed to participate in US job fulfillment by foreign nationals.
An increase of 15 countries are now eligible to participate in the program bringing the total number of countries to 53.
What is the H-2A and H-2B program?
The H-2A program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural labor and service jobs. The number of requests for H-2A certifications in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 increased by over 6 percent from FY 2008, while the number of positions certified in FY 2009 also experienced an increase of almost 5 percent over FY 2008. There is no H-2A numerical limitation (cap)
The H-2B program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States for temporary nonagricultural jobs which include resort and hospitality services, retail sales, landscaping, food service and processing, and construction. FY 2008 to FY 2009 showed a 25% decrease in requests for positions and employer demand for H-2B workers showed additional decline from the previous fiscal year. There is a 66,000 H-2B numerical limitation (cap)
Countries include: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Nauru, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vanuatu. Of these countries, the following were designated for the first time this year: Barbados, Estonia, Fiji, Hungary, Kiribati, Latvia, Macedonia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.