U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Department of State, has added Austria, Italy, Panama, and Thailand to the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Visa programs for the coming year. The notice listing the 63 eligible countries published January 17, 2014 in the Federal Register.

The H-2A and H-2B Visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively. Generally, 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 programs.  USCIS may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is determined to be in the interest of the United States.