U.S. Loosens Regulations on Immigrant Workers to Help Agricultural Companies

Published by Matt Fishman on

The United States’ Department of Homeland Security and Department of Agriculture are changing H-2A regulations “to help U.S. agricultural employers avoid disruptions in lawful agricultural-related employment, protect the nation’s food supply chain, and lessen impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency”.

H-2A regulations allow U.S. employers “to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.”

Under this rule change, an agricultural company “who is concerned that workers will be unable to enter the country due to travel restrictions can start employing certain foreign workers who are currently in H-2A status in the United States immediately”, and will allow “H-2A workers to stay beyond the three-year maximum allowable period of stay in the United States”.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue commented how this adjustment is necessary “to minimize disruption and make sure farmers have access to these critical workers necessary to maintain the integrity in our food supply.”

DHS and USDA clarified that “[a]t no point is it acceptable for employers to hire illegal aliens.”

This change comes hours after the release of last week’s increase of 5,245,000 in unemployment claims, bringing the total unemployment increase from the past month to over 21 million.