On January 18, 2019, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security published a notice in the Federal Register identifying those countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs. The designation took effect on January 19, 2019, and continues until January 18, 2020. In general, DHS considers numerous factors in compiling the list of countries, including the country’s cooperation with respect to the issuance of travel documents for its nationals who are subject to a final order of removal and the number of final and unexecuted removal orders against its nationals. If a national of a country that is not on the list wishes to take advantage of the H-2A or H-2B program, the employer must demonstrate that it would be in the best interests of the United States to make an exception.
Of note, Ethiopia and the Philippines were removed from both lists, while Mozambique and Samoa were added to both lists. The Dominican Republic was removed from the H-2B list, and Paraguay was added to the H-2A list. In total, there are 84 countries on the H-2A list and 81 on the H-2B list.