DHS again extends H-2A temporary agricultural worker flexibilities
Wednesday, January 6, 2021

DHS again extends H-2A temporary agricultural worker flexibilities

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

Due to the continuing disruptions and uncertainty to the U.S. food agriculture sector caused by the COVID–19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security has decided to again temporarily extend the amendments to certain regulations on temporary and seasonal agricultural workers, and their U.S. employers, within the H–2A nonimmigrant classification.

Through a temporary final rule published in the federal Register December 18, 2020, DHS is extending the provisions of the August 20, 2020, temporary final rule. Namely, DHS will continue to allow H-2A employees whose extensions of stay H-2A petitions are supported by valid temporary labor certifications issued by the U.S. Department of Labor to begin work with a new employer immediately after the extension of stay petition is received by USCIS.

Extension of stay petitions. DHS will apply this temporary final rule to H-2A petitions requesting an extension of stay, if they were received on or after December 18, 2020, but no later than June 16, 2021. The temporary extension of these flexibilities will ensure that agricultural employers have access to the orderly and timely flow of legal foreign workers, thereby protecting the integrity of the nation’s food supply chain and decreasing possible reliance on unauthorized aliens, while at the same time encouraging agricultural employers’ use of the H-2A program, which protects the rights of U.S. and foreign workers.

Effective dates. The final rule is effective from December 18, 2020, through December 18, 2023. Employers may seek flexibilities under this rule by filing an H–2A petition on or after December 18, 2020, and through June 16, 2021.

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