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DHS Releases List of Countries Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Programs, Adds Eswatini

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), announced the lists of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in the next year. The notice listing the eligible countries was published in the Federal Register on November 10, 2022.

Each country’s designation is valid from November 10, 2022, until November 9, 2023.

Effective November 10, 2022, DHS decided to add the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) to the list of eligible countries. DHS maintains its authority to amend the eligible countries list at any time, by publishing a Federal Register Notice, if both DHS and DOS determine that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation.

Variables that could result in the exclusion of a country or the removal of a country from the list include fraud, abuse, nonimmigrant visa overstay rates, and other forms of noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the H-2 visa programs by nationals of that country that are contrary to U.S. interest.

DHS clarifies that this notice does not affect the status of H-2 beneficiaries who currently are in the United States unless they apply to extend their stay in H-2 status on the basis of a petition filed on or after the date of publication of the Federal Register Notice. Similarly, this notice would not affect the eligibility of an H-2 beneficiary to apply for an H-2 visa and/or seek admission to the United States based on an H-2 petition approved prior to the date of publication of the Federal Register Notice. It does apply to nonimmigrants changing status in the United States to H-2A or H-2B.

Williams Global Law will continue to provide updates on relevant advances.

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