When Immigration Matters

Injunction Issued against DOL implementing New H-2B Visa Rule

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 @ 2:24 PM

H-2B, H2B visaA Florida judge issued a nationwide temporary injunction preventing the Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing the H-2B Visa program rule. Even though the ruling was issued in Florida, it applies nationwide. Congress has blocked the wage rule until September 30.

“We do expect the Department of Justice to appeal the decision, but any legal challenge will take a quite a while to play itself out and we are well positioned to address any further legal challenge,” Delaney said.

PLANET and other organizations initiated lawsuits against the H-2B program rule in the Northern District of Florida.

“PLANET members should take great pride in the fact that Judge Rogers relied extensively on Sabeena Hickman’s sworn statement regarding the harm DOL’s H-2B changes will cause to PLANET members,” said Richard Lehr, PLANET’s attorney.

58 Countries Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Wed, Feb 01, 2012 @ 4:25 PM
Department of Homeland SecurityThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, has identified 58 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Visa programs for the coming year. The notice listing eligible countries . Each country’s designation is valid for one year from the date of publication.

The H-2A Visa and H-2B Visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs and temporary nonagricultural jobs, respectively. USCIS generally may only approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. USCIS 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.

Effective Jan. 18, 2012, nationals of the following 58 countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

In addition to the 53 countries currently on the list, the following five countries were designated for the first time this year: Haiti, Iceland, Montenegro, Spain and Switzerland.

This new list does not immediately affect the status of beneficiaries who are currently in the United States in H-2A or H-2B status, unless they apply to change or extend their status.

New Countries Eligible to Participate in 2011 H-2A and H-2B Programs

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

WASHINGTON— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, has identified 53 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs for the coming year.

USCISThe H-2A program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs; the H-2B program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States for temporary nonagricultural jobs. 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 programs. A new list of eligible countries publishes in a Federal Register notice on January 18, 2011 , and the designations are valid for one year from the date of publication.

Effective Jan. 18, 2011, nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs:  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.

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 programs for 2011.

This new list 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. 

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H-2A & H-2B Temporary Worker Visa Exit Program Pilot Delayed

Posted by Michael Pollak on Tue, Aug 25, 2009 @ 3:32 PM
Today August 25, 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the postponement of the commencement date of the H-2A and H-2B Temporary Worker Visa Exit Program Pilot, originally set for August 1, 2009. The pilot program will require temporary workers within H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant classifications that enter the United States at either the port of San Luis, Arizona or the port of Douglas, Arizona, to depart from one of those ports and to submit certain biographical and  biometric information at one of the kiosks established for this purpose. A delay of the commencement date is necessary to ensure that the kiosks are fully operational.  The pilot program will commence December 8, 2009.

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