Extensive visa fraud, abuse, human smuggling and refusal to take back its deported citizens are the reason why Haitians, Belizeans, Samoans have now been barred from obtaining temporary work visas in the US, the Department of Homeland Security has announced.
According to a filing by DHS Deputy Secretary Elaine C. Duke in the Federal Register, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) “may generally only approve petitions for H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant status 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.”
H-2A and H-2B visas are given to seasonal workers in agriculture and other low-skilled industries.
“Haitian nationals applying for H-2A and H-2B visas present extremely high rates of refusal, and those issued H-2A or H-2B visas have historically demonstrated high levels of fraud and abuse and a high rate of overstaying the terms of their H-2 admission,” the DHS statement said.
“Haiti has shown no improvement in these areas, and the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, that Haiti’s inclusion on the 2018 H-2A and H-2B lists is no longer in the U.S. interest.”
The Pacific Island nation of Samoa is “currently listed as ‘At Risk of Non-Compliance’ according to ICE’s year-end assessment of foreign countries’ cooperation in accepting back their nationals that have been ordered removed from the United States,” the statement continued, adding that “Despite attempts to improve cooperation on removals to Samoa, there has been not been sufficient progress on removals to Samoa.”
Belize, a nation on the eastern coast of Central America, is listed on the US Department of State’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report as a “Tier 3” country. “Tier 3” means the country does not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards and is not making significant efforts to do so, the DHS statement said, justifying the removal of that state from the allowed list.
The DHS filing then proceeded to provide a list of 83 countries to be eligible to participate in the H-2A nonimmigrant worker program.
They include Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nauru, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vanuatu
Those eligible to participate in the H-2B nonimmigrant worker program include all the above except Moldova.
A separate filing also made today formally ended the designation of Haiti as a “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS) nation, in line with an earlier announcement by the DHS.