Carib countries eligible to participate in visa programs

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, have added five Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries among others worldwide that are eligible to participate in visa programs.

USCIS said on Friday that Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Haiti and Jamaica are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Visa programs, effective Jan. 18, 2016.

Sixty-eight countries globally are eligible to participate in the visa programs on that effective date, USCIS said.

It said H-2A and H-2B Visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively.

“Typically, USCIS only approves H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs,” the statement said.

“USCIS, however, may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is determined to be in the interest of the United States,” it added.

USCIS said DHS reserves the right to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at any time DHS determines that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation.

USCIS said the notice does not affect the status of beneficiaries who currently are in the United States in H-2A or H-2B status unless they apply to change or extend their status.

Each country’s designation is valid for one year from Jan. 18, 2016, USCIS said.

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