On December 8, 2014, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico implemented a new visa appointment system for the H-2 Temporary Agricultural (H-2A) and Non-Agricultural (H-2B) Programs. The H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers program permits U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in the United States in temporary agricultural jobs while the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers program is for non-agricultural fields. These procedures require group processing via group user accounts. Once a group user account is approved, each individual applicant is able to schedule their visa appointment. The new visa application procedures can be found at: https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-mx/niv/information/groups
Effective January 18, 2015, foreign nationals from five additional countries will be allowed to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs. The H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers program permits U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in the United States in temporary agricultural jobs while the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers program is for non-agricultural fields. This brings the total number of eligible countries to 68 countries. The newly eligible countries are: Czech Republic, Denmark, Madagascar, Portugal and Sweden. These will be added to the currently eligible countries: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Vanuatu. Exceptions can be made for approval of an H-2A and H-2B petition on behalf of a beneficiary from a country not on this list under limited circumstances.
Last week President Obama outlined a new directive in the relations between the United States and Cuba. This is the first serious rapprochement between the two nations since the end of diplomatic relations in 1961. The major elements of the President's initiative are summarized as follows:
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