On February 6, 2008, the DHS announced a proposed rule to modify the H-2A Temporary Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program to provide employers with a streamlined hiring process. The proposed rule would:
- Extend the length of stay from 10 to 30 days the time a temporary agricultural worker may remain in the U.S. after the end of employment;
- Reduce from six to three months the time a temporary agricultural worker must wait outside the U.S. before he or she is eligible to reenter the country under H-2A status;
- Provide H-2A workers changing from one H-2A employer to another to authorization to commence new employment with the new petitioning employer before the approval of the petition as long as the new employer participates in USCIS’ E-Verify program;
- Require certain employer attestations;
- Preclude the imposition of fees by employers or recruiters on H-2A workers;
- Eliminate the ability of employers to file an H-2A petition without an approved temporary labor certification;
- Prohibit the approval of H-2A petitions for nationals of countries that unreasonably delay repatriation; and
- Establish a land-border exit system pilot program under which H-2A workers admitted through participating ports depart through certain ports for the collection of biometrics information.
Additional information about the proposed H-2A rule will be contained in our firm's future Immigration Updates when it becomes available.