Filipinos can now again apply for H-2B visas after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the lifting of a ban set a year ago.
For 2021, the acting secretary of homeland security and the secretary of state has agreed to add the Philippines to the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2B program.”
The ban was imposed in January of 2020, over concerns of “severe” overstaying and human trafficking.
The DHS Announces Countries Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs
The Department off Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), have announced the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A H-2B visa programs in 2021.
The notice listing the eligible will be published in the Federal Register on January 13, 2021.
For 2021, the Acting Secretary of Homeland and Security and the Secretary of State have agreed to:
- Add the Philippines to the list of countries to participate in the H-2B program;
- No longer designated the Independent State of Samoa and Tonga as eligible countries because they no longer meet the regulatory standards for the H-2A and H-2B visa programs; and
- No longer designate Mongolia as an eligible country for the H-2A visa program because they no longer regulatory standards for that program.
According to the USCIS, this program will allow employers to bring in foreigners. The purpose is to fill jobs that haven’t been filled.
The H-2B program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively.”
In a general scenario, the USCIS OKs both H-2A and H-2B petitions. However, they only do so for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security marked as eligible for the said programs.
On the other hand, the country is still not cleared for applications for a H-2A visa; what this means is programs for temporary agricultural work. Other types of visas remain available to Filipinos.
Modification of Countries For a US H-2B Visa
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that they have the authority to modify the list of countries that are eligible for the programs at any time.
The DHS maintains its authority to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at the time it publishes a new list, should DHS and DOS determine that a country fails to meet the requirement for continued designation.”
What are Examples of the Different Factors?
As per the DHS, the examples of the factors that could make a country not part of the list are:
- Denial Rates
- Human Trafficking Concerns
- Overstay Rates
- Other Non-Compliance Actions
Effective January 19, nationals of the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs:
|Chile||Ireland||New Zealand||St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Costa Rica||Italy||North Macedonia||Switzerland|
|Denmark||Kiribati||Papua New Guinea||Timor-Leste|
Other Updates to Note:
*The Dominican Republic, Moldova, and Paraguay are eligible to participate in the H-2A program but they are not eligible to participate in the H-2B program.
**Mongolia and the Philippines are eligible to participate in the H-2B program but are not eligible to participate in the H-2A program.
***Regarding 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 “whenever 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.”
The USCS said that this wouldn’t affect the current holders of H-2 visas, but under a certain condition.
This notice does not affect the status of H-2 beneficiaries who currently are in the U.S., 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.”
What do you think about the fact that Filipinos are eligible for the US H-2B visa again? Do you plan on going or visiting the country any time soon?
Source: CNN Philippines