The Department of Homeland Security has announced a temporary rule to allow farmers facing delays in getting approval for foreign agricultural laborers to hire farmworkers holding valid H-2A visas and already in the U.S. 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. For more information about the H-2A visa, please click here.

The temporary final rule announced Wednesday comes after mounting pressure from agriculture groups for access to H-2A workers primarily to plant and harvest fruits and vegetables. DHS is calling the lack of workers and the slow down in processing applications an “unprecedented crisis”. There are approximately 20,000 H-2A and H-2B non-agriculture visa holders in the U.S. who have expiring work contracts who can potentially be hired under the new agreement.

Agricultural employers who have submitted a petition for H-2A workers and who hold a valid temporary labor certification will be eligible to hire visa holders in the U.S. after the USCIS receives the H-2A petition. Workers can’t start work any earlier than the start date on a submitted petition.

H-2A workers nearing the expiration of their three-year visas would be allowed to remain in the United States if hired under a new contract.

You can find key immigration information related to the Corona Virus below.

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