Five Carib countries eligible for H-2A, H-2B visa program

Grenada’s Ambassador Angus Friday.

Grenada’s ambassador to the Unites States of America, Dr. Angus Friday praised the US for Grenada’s continued inclusion on the list of countries eligible for H-2A and H-2B programs being offered by the USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Department of State.

The visa programs begin in January 2015.

In a statement to Caribbean Life, the diplomat said Grenada has long standing relationships with the United States, and policies that allow the free flow of people, knowledge, culture and skills that are positive for both countries. “It is not a one way flow,” he added.

Referring to a release that listed five Caribbean countries among 68, eligible for the programs, Friday, who also holds the post of Ambassador to the Organization of American States, said Grenada has a vibrant expat community, and St. George’s University based in Grenada trains one in every one hundred doctors practicing in the United States.

“Grenada deeply appreciates the renewed vigor in U.S. / Caribbean relations and expresses its congratulations to both the Unites States and to Cuba for their historic efforts announced recently to normalize diplomatic and economic ties,” said Friday.

“For much of the Caribbean, this development will overshadow the announcement on the H-2A and H-2B and will be seen as a critical step in creating a much more dynamic marketplace of ideas, people, services, goods and investment in the Americas, but especially between the Caribbean and the United States,” the Grenadian ambassador said.

Like other countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, Haiti and Belize that are eligible for the programs, Friday says from Grenada’s standpoint. “we would look forward to a progressive relaxation of all visa requirements across the region in support of more unified and integrated hemisphere capable of effectively competing with other regional blocs in todays globalized world.”

“Only through growth can we lift people out of poverty, lessen inequality and promote shared prosperity. “Fewer visa restrictions will help to this end,” he concluded.

The H-2A and H-2B Visa programs that allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively, were never offered to Guyana.

In addressing this, Forbes July, minister consular and deputy chief of mission, of the Guyana Embassy in Washington DC, explained that Guyana was never considered for the visa because it is not a country that is in dire need of exporting citizens for low level jobs.

Forbes went on to say that unlike countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico that have large populations, Guyana does fall into that category.

Jamaica Consul General, Herman LaMont relayed through his assistant, that Jamaica continues to remain on the list of countries eligible for the visa program.

The temporary visa comes under a two-year program, with a renewal of one year that allows nationals to work during their temporary status in the U.S.

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