H-2A Eligible Countries List
The Department of Homeland Security publishes the list of H-2A and H-2B eligible countries annually in a Federal Register notice. Designation of eligible countries is valid for one year from publication.
Effective Jan. 18, 2012, nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A program:
Argentina Ecuador Jamaica New Zealand Solomon Islands
Australia El Salvador Japan Norway South Africa
Barbados Estonia Kiribati Papua New Guinea South Korea
Belize Ethiopia Latvia Peru Spain
Brazil Fiji Lithuania Philippines Switzerland
Bulgaria Guatemala Macedonia Poland Tonga
Canada Haiti Mexico Romania Turkey
Chile Honduras Moldova Samoa Tuvalu
Costa Rica Hungary Montenegro Serbia Ukraine
Croatia Iceland Nauru Slovakia United Kingdom
Dominican Republic Ireland The Netherlands Slovenia Uruguay
Israel Nicaragua Vanuatu
A national from a country not on the list may only be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A petition if the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that it is in the U.S. interest for him or her to be the beneficiary of such a petition.
Note: If you request H-2A workers from both eligible and non-eligible countries, USCIS suggests that you file two separate petitions. Filing one petition for workers from eligible countries and a separate petition for workers from non-eligible countries may help decrease delays.
Employers certified under H-2A must keep records of the hours each worker actually works. In addition the employer must retain a record of time "offered" to the worker but which the worker "refused" to work. Each worker must be provided a wage statement showing hours of work, hours refused, pay for each type of crop, the basis of pay (i.e., whether the worker is being paid by the hour, per piece, "task" pay, etc.). The wage statement must indicate total earnings for the pay period and all deductions from wages (along with an explanation as to why deductions were made).
Employers must maintain records concerning any worker who was terminated and the reason for such termination. The employer, in order to negate a continuing liability for wages and benefits to workers, must notify the NPC of any abandonment or abscondment. The employer should also indicate if replacement(s) will be sought for such worker(s).
Period of Stay
Generally, USCIS may grant H-2A classification for up to the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification. H-2A classification may be extended for qualifying employment in increments of up to 1 year each. A new, valid temporary labor certification covering the requested time must accompany each extension request. The maximum period of stay in H-2A classification is 3 years.
A person who has held H-2A nonimmigrant status for a total of 3 years must depart and remain outside the United States for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before seeking readmission as an H-2A nonimmigrant. Additionally, previous time spent in other H or L classifications counts toward total H-2A time.
Exception: Certain periods of time spent outside of the United States may “interrupt” an H-2A worker’s authorized stay and not count toward the 3-year limit. See Calculating Interrupted Stay for H-2 Classifications for additional information.
Family of H-2A Workers
An H-2A worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in H-4 nonimmigrant classification. Family members are not eligible for employment in the United States while in H-4 status.
Employment-Related Notifications to USCIS
Petitioners of H-2A workers must notify USCIS within 2 workdays if any of the following occur:
- No show: The H-2A worker fails to report to work within 5 work days of the latter of:
- The employment start date on the H-2A petition, or
- The start date established by the employer;
- Abscondment: The H-2A worker leaves without notice and fails to report for work for 5 consecutive workdays without the consent of the employer;
- Termination: The H-2A worker is terminated prior to the completion of the H-2A labor or services for which he or she was hired; or
Early Completion: The H-2A worker finishes the labor or services for which he or she was hired more than 30 days earlier than the date specified in the H-2A petition.
petitioners must include the following information on the employment-related notification:
1.The reason for the notification (for example, explain that the worker was either a “no show,” “absconder,” “termination,” or “early completion”);
3.The USCIS receipt number of the approved H-2A petition;
4.The petitioner’s information, including:
- Phone number
- Employer identification number (EIN)
- Phone number
- Full Name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Last known physical address and phone number
- Social Security Number
- Visa Number
Failure to Notify USCIS: A petitioner who fails to comply with these employment notification requirements, or fails to demonstrate good cause for untimely notification, may be required to pay $10 in liquidated damages for each instance of noncompliance.
Er Ashima Patel
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