New countries added to US temporary visa programme for 2016

by Ray Clancy on January 1, 2016

A number of countries have been added to the United States visa programme that allows employers to bring in workers for certain sectors to fill temporary jobs.

Andorra, Belgium, Brunei, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Singapore, Taiwan and Timor-Leste are now on the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Visa programmes in 2016.

Statue-of-LibertyThe Department of Homeland Security has the right to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at any time that it determines a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation.

This means that Moldova will no longer be designated as an eligible country to participate in the H-2B programme because the country is not meeting the standards in the regulation for the H-2B programme, but citizens can still participate in the H-2A programme because Moldova continues to meet the standards for it.

The H-2A and H-2B Visa programs allow US employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, respectively. Typically, USCIS only approves H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programmes.

The decision does not affect the status of beneficiaries who currently are in the United States with H-2A or H-2B visas unless they apply to change or extend their status. Each country’s designation is valid for one year from 18 January 2016.

Meanwhile, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has introduced an online Spanish language civics practice test. The questions are presented in English with Spanish subtitles and focus on basic US government and history topics.

A spokesman said that the goal is to help Spanish speaking lawful permanent residents studying for the naturalization test with retaining the information and gaining a firmer grasp of English.

The civics test is normally conducted in English, however, certain applicants may be eligible to take the civics test in the language of their choice due to age and time as a permanent resident, a disability, or other exceptions and accommodations.

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