This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, announced the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in the next year. Effective November 10, 2022, DHS added the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) to the list. Each country’s designation is valid until November 9, 2023.
DHS said that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions, including those pending as of the date of publication of the Federal Register notice on November 10, 2022, “for nationals of countries not on the lists on a case-by-case basis only if doing so is determined to be in the interest of the United States.”
DHS said the notice does not affect the status of H-2 beneficiaries who are currently 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, the 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 before the date of publication. It does apply to nonimmigrants changing status in the United States to H-2A or H-2B.