The Director of Homeland Security, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, has updated the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H2A and H2B Visa programs. The list must be updated annually. It was published in the Federal Register at 80 FR 72079 on November 18, 2015.
New Countries for the H2A and H2B Visa Programs
The following countries have been added to the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H2A and H2B Visa programs:
- San Marino
Moldova No Longer Eligible to Participate in the H2B Program
The Director of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State have decided that Moldova will no longer be designated as an eligible country for the H2B Visa program. However, nationals of Moldova will still be eligible to participate in the H2A Visa program.
Nationals of Moldova who are currently in the United States on H2B status will not lose status on account of this change. However, the change will render nationals Moldova ineligible to extend H2B status or to change from a different nonimmigrant status to H2B status.
The New List of H2A and H2B Countries
There were no other changes made to the list of H2A and H2B eligible countries. Effective on January 18, 2016, there will be 83 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in both the H2A and H2B Visa programs, and 84 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H2A Visa program (Moldova will be the only country eligible to participate in one but not the other). The following is the list of countries eligible to participate in the H2A and H2B Visa programs for 2016:
|Czech Republic||Denmark||Dominican Republic|
|Malta||Moldova (H2A only)||Mexico|
|The Netherlands||Nicaragua||New Zealand|
|Norway||Panama||Papua New Guinea|
|South Africa||South Korea||Spain|
Source: http://www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-announces-addition-16-countries-eligible-participate-h-2a-and-h-2b-visa-programs (PDF version)
- Ftn 1 from 80 FR 72079: With respect to all references to “country'' or “countries'' in this document, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Public Law 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. Sec. 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.
- See footnote 1.