New Rule Proposed To Streamline H2a Procedures

The U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services (Uscis) Announced Today A Series Of Proposed Rule Changes That Will Provide Employers With More Streamlined Procedures For Hiring Workers Under The H-2A Program. The Proposed Rule Is Published In Today's Federal Register.

The H-2A Nonimmigrant Visa Allows U.S. Employers To Bring Foreign Nationals To The United States For Temporary Or Seasonal Agricultural Work. The Series Of Proposed H-2A Rule Modifications, First Announced By Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff On Feb. 6, Will Encourage And Facilitate The Lawful Employment Of Foreign Agricultural Workers While Ensuring The Integrity Of The H-2A Program.

The Proposed Rule Is Designed To Remove Unnecessary Limitations On H-2A Employers While Preventing Fraud And Abuse, And Protecting The Rights Of Temporary Workers. Some Of The Key Modifications To The Rule Include:
  • Extend From 10 To 30 Days The Time A Temporary Agricultural Worker May Remain In The United States Following The Expiration Of The H-2A Petition;
  • Reduce From Six Months To Three Months The Time An H-2A Worker Must Wait Outside The United States Before They Are Eligible To Re-Obtain H-2A Status;
  • Allow H-2A Workers Who Are Changing From One H-2A Employer To Another To Begin Work With The New Petitioning Employer Upon The Filing Of A New H-2A Petition, Provided The New Employer Participates In Uscis' E-Verify Program;
  • Require An Employer Attestation Regarding The Scope Of The H-2A Employment And The Use Of Recruiters To Locate H-2A Workers;
  • Crack Down On Employers And Recruiters Who Impose Fees On Prospective H-2A Workers;
  • Require An Approved Temporary Labor Certification In Connection With All H-2A Petitions;
  • Prohibit The Approval Of H-2A Petitions For Nationals Of Countries Determined To Be Consistently Refusing Or Unreasonably Delaying Repatriation Of Their Nationals; And
  • Establish A Land-Border Exit System Pilot Program, Which Ensures That Foreign Workers Admitted Through A Port Of Entry Participating In The H-2A Program Must Depart Through A Similar Port That Also Participates In The Program.
Note: Uscis Will Accept Public Comments Until March 31.
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