USCIS Announces List of Countries Eligible for Participation in
H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs.
Jan 16, 2011: USCIS announced last week that the Departments of
Homeland Security and State have identified a total of 53 countries
whose citizens may be eligible to participate in the United
States' H-2A and H-2B visa entry programs. The H-2A program
enables U.S. employers to offer employment to foreign nationals for
temporary agricultural positions. The H-2B program enables U.S.
employers to offer employment to foreign nationals for temporary
nonagricultural positions. With just a few exceptions, USCIS will
approve visa petitions for people from countries designated by the
Secretary of Homeland Security as eligible to participate in these
two visa programs.
Effective January 18, 2011, people from the following countries may
be eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visas
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
Please note that Indonesia is no longer a country applicable for
these two visa programs. This new list will not affect the
immigration status of any individuals currently in the U.S. with
valid H-2A or H-2B visas.
Latest Updates on H-1B and H-2B Visa Counts.
Jan 11, 2011: USCIS has just released the latest numbers for the
amount of petitions received for the cap-subject H-1B and H-2B visa
programs. According to USCIS, as of January 7, 2011, roughly 58,700
H-1B cap-subject petitions have been receipted by the federal
agency. A total of 65,000 H-1B visas are available each year,
according to current federal regulations. USCIS has also receipted
20,000 H-1B petitions for foreign workers with advanced degrees,
leaving no additional available visa under that exemption.
USCIS also noted that it has receipted 2,129 H-2B petitions for the
first half of the fiscal year, including 1,452 approved petitions
and 677 pending petitions. A total of 33,000 H-2B cap-subject visas
are available for each 6-month period.
USCIS Implements Help HAITI Act of 2010.
Jan 05, 2011: USCIS has officially implemented the Help HAITI
Act of 2010. This new law will give USCIS the power to grant lawful
permanent resident status to certain orphaned children from Haiti,
who came to the U.S. under the Haitian Orphan Parole Program after
Haiti's devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. The public
is invited to comment on interim guidance until January 14,
The Haitian Orphan Parole Program, introduced on January 18, 2010,
was a humanitarian policy that allowed orphaned children from Haiti
to temporarily enter the U.S. to ensure they received the care they
needed. Children legally confirmed as orphans eligible for
intercountry adoption by the Haitian government and in the process
of being adopted by Americans prior to the earthquake and those
that were matched to prospective American adoptive parents were
allowed to apply for the parole program, as long as other
eligibility requirements were met.
Record Number of Undocumented Aliens Deported in 2010.
Dec 30, 2010: According to public records, a record number of
immigrants were deported from the U.S. this year. In addition, this
year marked the pronounced expansion of the USCIS Secure
Communities program, a program aimed at identifying undocumented
aliens imprisoned in the U.S.
According to ICE, nearly 400,000 undocumented aliens were deported
in 2010. Of those, over 195,000 were convicted criminals. Much of
this increase came from the Secure Communities program, which uses
biometric data to compare the fingerprints of people imprisoned in
local jails to those in ICE and FBI databases. The Secure
Communities program is currently in place in 891 jails in 35 states
across the U.S.
USCIS Announces Transformation to Web-based Environment.
Dec 27, 2010: Earlier this month, USCIS announced that it is
undertaking an agency-wide effort to shift their immigration
services from a paper-based system to an electronic system. This
effort, known as USCIS Transformation, will utilize a simplified,
web-based system for applicants to submit and track their
The new system, which will be account-based, will improve customer
service and will enable USCIS to process cases with more precision,
security and timeliness.
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