Amid COVID, the US rescues interests of farmers, agri workers

USA protect American farmers

If you are wondering what more is America doing to help different sections of its society, you have news! The US is doing what is needed to support employers and temporary workers in the agriculture sector. It’s much about keeping the nation’s food supply intact too through this COVID-19 crisis.

The H-2A visa helps foreign workers to work in USA in its agricultural sector on a temporary basis. These workers fill the gaps in the employment scene in the sector where domestic workers are not available.

Now, the US government has some new protection measures taken for American farmers including H-2A visa holders. The set of reforms to the rules governing farmers are given shape to by the Department of Homeland Security, taking the support of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Here are the main aspects of the new temporary final rule:

  • An H-2A petitioner (the farmer) having a temporary labor certification that’s valid, requiring the foreign workers to be able to enter the country can start employing some of them irrespective of travel restrictions. These workers are supposed to be currently with H-2A status in the US just after USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) gets the H-2A petition. But the worker will not be employed earlier than the start date of employment given in the petition.
  • The USCIS is letting H-2A workers stay longer than the 3-year maximum period allowable to stay in the US.
  • Agricultural employers (the farmers) are given a streamlined process that they should utilize to bring in legal foreign workers.
  • The disruptions in procuring skilled workers into the farming process will be minimized. The farmers will be able to access the workers critical to the food supply system. These new workers will ensure the running of the supply system in a smooth manner.

The temporary final rule will become effective as soon as it’s published in the Federal Register. After that, the new worker can stay in the US for so much time as not exceeding the validity period assigned to the Temporary Labor Certification.

There’s a possibility that the DHS feels that these temporary final rules will be needed for a longer period. In such a case, a new temporary final rule will be issued in the Federal Register. It will change the termination date of the new procedures.

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