The U.S. Department of Homeland Security added St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the 2017 list of countries whose citizens are eligible to come to the U.S. on temporary work visas starting Jan. 18.
The Caribbean nation joins the 84 approved countries from 2016, making residents of 85 countries eligible to participate in the H-2A agricultural guest worker program and residents from 84 countries eligible for the H-2B low-skilled, nonagricultural guest worker program.
The eligibility designation expires after one year and must be renewed. The notice does not affect workers currently in H-2A or H-2B status unless they apply to change or extend their status.
In 2009, when the list was first established, 28 countries were designated as eligible to participate in the visa programs.
DHS takes into account several factors when deciding which countries to put on the list.
Among them is the country’s cooperation on an issuance of travel documents for nationals of that country who are subject to a final order of removal from the U.S., and the number of orders of removal executed against citizens of that country.
Reasons to remove a country from the list could include fraud, abuse, or noncompliance with H-2A and H-2B terms and conditions by nationals of that country, as well as evidence of economic impact on U.S. industries or regions resulting from the inclusion or exclusion of specific countries.