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U.S. lists new countries eligible for H-2A and H-2B programmes

THE United States (U.S.) has identified 53 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programmes for the coming year
The H-2A programme allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs while the H-2B programme allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States for temporary non-agricultural jobs.
A statement by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made available to The Guardian over the weekend said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, said the effective date for the programmes would be January 18, this year.
USCIS, with limited exception, approves petitions only for nationals of countries designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security as eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programmes.
The nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programmes:  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.
According to the USCIS, a new list of eligible countries listed in a Federal Register notice on January 18, 2011 (tomorrow), and the designations are valid for one year from the date of publication.

The USCIS said that after considering a number of relevant factors under the governing regulations, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State have determined that Indonesia currently does not warrant a renewed designation as a participating country in the H-2A and H-2B programmes for 2011.

This new list, it said, “does not affect the status of individuals who currently hold valid H-2A or H-2B visas or status.”
“A national from a country that is not on the list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A and H-2B petition if the Secretary of Homeland Security determines, in her sole and unreviewable discretion, that it is in the U.S. interest for the alien to be a beneficiary of the petition.”
-Guardian

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