Everything you need to know about requesting Northern Triangle workers

Since we expect there to be a significant allocation made to the Northern Triangle countries in the upcoming visa release, we thought it would be helpful to provide the SEA membership a general overview of the process to bring in NT workers and what to expect.

We have worked closely with USAID’s Northern Triangle Taskforce and the ministries of labor in the NT countries on the initiative since the first allocation was made last May. This effort has resulted in numerous processing improvements that, as a result, has dramatically reduced the processing times.

USAID has devoted substantial resources to the ministries of labor in Honduras and Guatemala and to the ministry of foreign affairs in El Salvador. They have set up a process where the NT governments handle the recruitment, vetting and processing of all H-2B workers. There are also private recruiters in each country, most of whom have been operating in the NT countries for 25+ years. We believe a rising tide lifts all boats and a hybrid approach of the ministry and private recruiters is the best path forward. The goal should be to increase the number of H-2B visas issued and not differentiate between those going through the ministry and those going through private recruiters.

If you decide to bring in Northern Triangle workers, we recommend you allow your agent/attorney to handle the recruitment. If things go wrong, which they often do, they are equipped to handle all issues that arise.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which countries are considered part of Northern Triangle? El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
  2. Are NT workers cap exempt? No, but in the two supplemental visa releases made by the Biden administration, the visas allocated to the NT countries were not exhausted meaning if you choose to request NT workers from the supplemental visas, you have a very good chance of receiving them.
  3. Do I have to go through the government to request workers from these countries or can I go through a private recruiter? You can use either. Most likely, the company who does your paperwork has a trusted private recruiter in at least one, if not all, of the three countries.
  4. How much longer does the process take in the NT countries than Mexico? Last summer it was taking an additional 4-6 weeks, but this has improved significantly since then. It is now taking on average, 1-2 weeks longer if requesting new workers (often less if you use a private recruiter) and about the same amount of time as Mexico if requesting returning workers.

El Salvador

Government Agency responsible: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Point of Contact: Martin Hansen, martin.hansen@rree.gob.sv, (850) 250-3160

Private Recruiters:
Del Al Associates, Jeff Warner, jeff@delal.org

We have heard excellent reports regarding the ministry and its professionalism. Recent reports from employers and agents all speak highly of the El Salvadoran Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its ability to locate and present worker lists in a timely manner. Employers have also been pleased with the workers.


Government Agency responsible: Ministry of Labor
Point of Contact: Bill Carlson, bill.carlson@thepalladiumgroup.com

Private Recruiters:
Del Al Associates, Jeff Warner, jeff@delal.org
LLS International, Jeff West, jeffw@llsint.com
The Cordons, Melissa Cordon, thecordons@yahoo.com

In Guatemala, we have heard that processing times for returning workers and for employers who have presented their own lists of workers has vastly improved. We have not received reports from employers who have asked the ministry for new workers.

Jacqui Stenglin, Director of HR, Landscapes USA, “Although we did not use the ministry for recruiting workers the rest of the process could not be going more smoothly.  We sent them our approval notice on 3/2. They have already met with all 69 workers and collected their documents. They say our workers will have visas by the last week in March. We have already booked flights for April 6th. They will meet our workers at the airport to deliver visas and passports.  It’s just been a wonderful experience so far, and so much faster than past years. So far, so good!”

The earliest passport appointment times for those not going through the ministry is this summer. If you go through the ministry you can get a passport appointment time almost immediately. We are disappointed that the Guatemalan government is setting up roadblocks for private recruiters to incentivize employers to go through the ministry. The ultimate goal should be more H-2B admissions from Guatemala no matter if they go through the ministry or through a private facilitator!


Government Agency responsible: Ministry of Labor
Point of Contact: Sergio Rivas, srivas@acdivoca.org

Private Recruiters:
Arkansas Global Connect, Dana Deree, danaderee@arglobalconnect.com
Del Al Associates, Jeff Warner, jeff@delal.org
Labormex, Lydia Hock, lydia@labormex.com

The Honduran Ministry of Labor has signed memorandum of understandings with trusted private recruiters. We have heard that the processing times in Honduras are now equivalent to those in Mexico. We have also heard great reports from employers regarding the performance and work ethic of the Honduran workers.

Sarah Morgan, Director of Human Resources, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, “For the first time last year, we requested 17 Hondurans for our housekeeping positions. They had a great spirit and work ethic. Most spoke limited English so they could not be guest facing but we were overall extremely pleased with the workers and plan to increase our request for this upcoming season.”

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