DHS Relaxes Rules On Hiring Foreign Farm Workers

Roll Call reports:

The Homeland Security Department, reacting to what it called an “unprecedented crisis,” will allow farmers facing delays in getting approval for petitions for foreign agricultural labor to hire farmworkers holding H-2A visas and already in the United States. How many farmers this will help is unknown.

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.

The organizations said farmers might find themselves short-handed as the State Department maintains COVID-19 protections, such as social distancing, for embassy staff as it reviews new and returning H-2A applicants.