Two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are included in six new countries whose nationals have become eligible to participate in agricultural and non-agricultural programmes in the United States this year.
The Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Department of State, said St Lucia and Haiti will be allowed to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programmes in the coming year.
It said that apart from the two CARICOM countries, the others are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic and Mauritius.
“The Department of Homeland Security is committed to working with our inter-agency partners to ensure that companies in the United States can fill temporary or seasonal jobs for which US workers are not available,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas.
“Adding these six new countries will enable their nationals to apply for temporary work in the United States,” he added.
The H-2A programme allows US employers or US agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs, while the H-2B programme allows employers or agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.
In total, nationals from 85 countries will be eligible to participate in the H-2A programme and nationals from 86 countries will be eligible to participate in the H-2B programme in the coming year, the authorities said.
They said that US Citizenship and Immigration Services may, in its discretion, approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list of approved countries on a case-by-case basis if doing so would be in the interest of the United States.