Furthering the agenda to help America’s farmers, the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, and Wage and Hour Division, posted online a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit public comment on proposed changes to improve the H-2A temporary agricultural labor certification program. These proposed changes would modernize the Department’s H-2A program regulations in a way that is responsive to stakeholder concerns and enhances employer access to a legal source of agricultural labor, while maintaining the program’s protections for the U.S. workforce and enhancing enforcement against fraud and abuse.
For example, the NPRM would streamline the H-2A application process by mandating electronic filing of job orders and applications, promoting the use of digital signatures, and providing employers with the option of staggering the entry of H-2A workers on a single application.
Learn more about the proposed rule here.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said, “President Trump once again shows his commitment to helping America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers continue to be the most productive in the world by increasing their access to a stable and legal workforce. The proposed rule will increase access to a reliable legal agricultural workforce, easing unnecessary burdens on farmers, increase enforcement against fraud and abuse, all while maintaining protections for America’s workers. When this rule goes into effect, our farmers will be released from unnecessary and burdensome regulations allowing them to do what they do best.”
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives said, “In issuing a proposed rule today on changes to the H-2A visa program for agricultural guest workers, the Department of Labor is taking a significant step to improve a system in need of a dramatic overhaul. While we are still reviewing the details of the rule, we understand that it contains provisions that will help streamline the program and simplify the process for the farmers and growers who use it. We would like to recognize the efforts of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who has worked closely with the DoL through the interagency process to secure these important changes.
“While this new rule is welcome, a permanent solution to the labor crisis faced by agriculture is congressional action to address both current and future needs of the sector. NCFC will continue to work with policy makers and other stakeholders to find a path forward for such a solution.”