Posted on November 14, 2021

Biden Administration Welcomes Haiti, Five Other Countries to Guest-Worker Visa Programs

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, November 9, 2021

Haitians are once more eligible for temporary, seasonal work in the United States under two federal guest-worker programs, three years after being kicked out by the Trump administration.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it was reinstating Haiti in the H-2A and H-2B guest worker visa programs for the coming year, which allows farmers, hotel workers and other laborers to apply for temporary work in the U.S. Haiti is among six new countries whose nationals are now eligible. The notice listing the countries will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

The other newly designated countries are the Dominican Republic (currently only eligible for H-2A), Saint Lucia, Herzegovina, the Republic of Cyprus and Mauritius. The Biden administration also announced the removal of Moldova as an eligible country for H-2A visas after its current eligibility runs out on Jan. 18, 2022, because it no longer meets the regulatory standard.

The H-2A program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs. H-2B visas are for non-agricultural jobs.


The administration’s reinstatement of Haiti will offer relief to some Haitians at a time when the U.S. continues to come under fire for its immigration policy toward Haitians and its Haiti foreign policy. In recent months thousands of Haitians have sought to enter the United States illegally, hoping to escape a growing wave of gang violence, kidnappings and political instability in their country following the assassination of their president and a devastating earthquake this summer in the course of five weeks.

Since Sept. 19, when the U.S. began deportations of thousands of Haitians living under an international bridge in Del Rio, Texas, some 8,500 Haitian migrants on 81 flights have been returned to Haiti from the U.S., according to advocates. {snip}

In 2018, the Trump administration announced that Haiti was being kicked out of the guest worker program due to “extremely high rates of refusal… high levels of fraud and abuse and a high rate of overstaying the terms of their H-2 admission.” {snip}