October 26, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its list of countries eligible to participate in the H2A and H2B visa programs for the next fiscal year. The list saw one addition to the list of countries in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H2A and H2B visa programs in FY-2017 [see news release]. There were no other changes to the list from the previous fiscal year. This update was published in the Federal Register at 81 FR 74468 (Oct. 26, 2016) [link].
This new update will take effect on January 18, 2017. The designations will be valid for one year from January 18, 2017. Also effective date, nationals from all of the following countries will be eligible to participate in the H2A and H2B visa programs. Please note that nationals of Moldova are eligible to participate in the H2A program, but ineligible to participate in the H2B program. In total, nationals of 85 countries will be allowed to participate in the H2A program and nationals of 84 countries will be allowed to participate in the H2B program.
|Australia||France||Moldova (H2A only)||Solomon Islands|
|Belize||Guatemala||Nauru||St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Colombia||Israel||Papua New Guinea||Tonga|
|El Salvador||Lithuania||San Marino|
* 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.
To see our article on the list published for the previous fiscal year on November 18, 2015 to read about the additions made to the last for the previous year, and the decision to find that Moldova was ineligible to participate in the H2B program [see article].