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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 11 (Wednesday, January 18, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2558-2559]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-870]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

[Docket No. DHS-2011-0108]
RIN 1601-ZA11


Identification of Foreign Countries Whose Nationals Are Eligible 
To Participate in the H-2A and H-2B Nonimmigrant Worker Programs

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, DHS.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may approve petitions for 
H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant status only for nationals of countries that 
the Secretary of Homeland Security, with the concurrence of the 
Secretary of State, has designated by notice published in the Federal 
Register. That notice must be renewed each year. This notice announces 
that the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the 
Secretary of State, is identifying 58 countries whose nationals are 
eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs for the coming 
year. New countries on this year's list include Haiti, Iceland, 
Montenegro, Spain, and Switzerland.

DATES: Effective Date: This notice is effective January 18, 2012, and 
shall be without effect at the end of one year after January 18, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Francis Cissna, Office of Policy, 
Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528, (202) 447-3835.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Background: USCIS generally may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions 
only for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland 
Security, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, has 
designated as participating countries. Such designation must be 
published as a notice in the Federal Register and expires after one 
year. USCIS may, however, allow a national from a country not on the 
list to be named as a beneficiary of an H-2A or H-2B petition based on 
a determination that such participation is in the U.S. interest. See 8 
CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E).
    In designating countries to include on the list, the Secretary of 
Homeland Security, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, will 
take into account factors including, but not limited to: (1) The 
country's cooperation with respect to issuance of travel documents for 
citizens, subjects, nationals, and residents of that country who are 
subject to a final order of removal; (2) the number of final and 
unexecuted orders of removal against citizens, subjects, nationals, and 
residents of that country; (3) the number of orders of removal executed 
against citizens, subjects, nationals, and residents of that country; 
and (4) such other factors as may serve the U.S. interest. See 8 CFR 
214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E)(1).
    In December 2008, DHS published in the Federal Register two 
notices, ``Identification of Foreign Countries Whose Nationals Are 
Eligible to Participate in the H-2A Visa Program,'' and 
``Identification of Foreign Countries Whose Nationals Are Eligible to 
Participate in the H-2B Visa Program,'' which designated 28 countries 
whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B 
programs. See 73 FR 77,043 (Dec. 18, 2008); 73 FR 77,729 (Dec. 19, 
2008). The notices ceased to have effect on January 17, 2010 and 
January 18, 2010, respectively. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(2) and 8 
CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E)(3).
    To allow for the continued operation of the H-2A and H-2B programs, 
the Secretary of Homeland Security published, with the concurrence of 
the Secretary of State, a notice in the Federal Register on January 19, 
2010, ``Identification of Foreign Countries Whose Nationals Are 
Eligible to Participate in the H-2A and H-2B Programs.'' The notice 
provided for the continued eligibility of the 28 countries initially 
listed in the Federal Register notices of December 18 and December 19, 
2008, and added 11 additional countries. See 75 FR 2,879 (Jan. 19, 
2010). A notice in the Federal Register on January 18, 2011, 
``Identification of Foreign Countries Whose Nationals Are Eligible to 
Participate in the H-2A and H-2B Programs,'' provided for the continued 
eligibility of 38 of the countries listed in the 2010 notice, removed 
Indonesia from the list, as Indonesia was not meeting the standards set 
forth in the regulation, and added 15 countries. See 76 FR 2,915 (Jan. 
18, 2011).
    The Secretary of Homeland Security has determined, with the 
concurrence of the Secretary of State, that the 53 countries previously 
designated in the January 18, 2011 notice continue to meet the 
standards identified in that notice for eligible countries and 
therefore should remain designated as countries whose nationals are 
eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs. Further, the 
Secretary of Homeland Security, with the concurrence of the Secretary 
of State, has determined that it is now appropriate to add five 
additional countries to the list of countries whose nationals are 
eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs. This 
determination is made taking into account the four factors identified 
above. The Secretary of Homeland Security also considered other 
pertinent factors including, but not limited to, evidence of past usage 
of the H-2A and H-2B programs by nationals of the countries to be 
added, as well as evidence relating to the economic impact on 
particular U.S. industries or regions resulting from the addition or 
continued non-inclusion of specific countries. In consideration of all 
of the above, this notice designates for the first time Haiti, Iceland, 
Montenegro, Spain, and Switzerland as countries whose nationals are 
eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs.

Designation of Countries Whose Nationals Are Eligible To Participate in 
the H-2A and H-2B Nonimmigrant Worker Programs

    Pursuant to the authority provided to the Secretary of Homeland 
Security under sections 214(a)(1), and 215(a)(1) and 241 of the 
Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(a)(1), 1185(a)(1), and 
1231), I have designated, with the concurrence of the Secretary of 
State, that nationals from the following countries are eligible to 
participate in the H-2A and H-2B non-immigrant worker 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

[[Page 2559]]

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
Vanuatu

    This notice does not affect the status of aliens who currently hold 
valid H-2A or H-2B nonimmigrant status. Persons currently holding such 
status, however, will be affected by this notice at the time they seek 
an extension of stay in H-2 classification, or a change of status from 
another non-immigrant status to H-2 status, or a change of status from 
H-2A to H-2B (and vice-versa).
    Nothing in this notice limits the authority of the Secretary of 
Homeland Security or her designee or any other federal agency to invoke 
against any foreign country or its nationals any other remedy, penalty, 
or enforcement action available by law.

Janet Napolitano,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2012-870 Filed 1-17-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-9M-P



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