The State Department revised its restrictions on the processing of visa applications submitted by farm workers in Mexico after hearing concerns that the restrictions would lead to a farm worker shortage in the U.S. Consular officers can now waive the visa interview requirement for eligible first-time and returning H-2A and H-2B applicants, making more workers in the H-2 program available while prioritizing public health.
Additional resources have been provided by the Office of Foreign Labor Certification by releasing a sheet of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding COVID-19 and H-2A. The FAQs address potential issues regarding the H-2A temporary agricultural labor certification program. You can find these FAQs by clicking here. The OFLC has released another set of FAQs, which you can find by clicking here.
The Phelps Dunbar law firm compiled a FAQ document regarding existing H-2A regulations and COVID-19. While Phelps Dunbar gave Farm Bureau permission to share, Farm Bureau does not endorse this guidance as legal advice from Farm Bureau. You can find these FAQs by clicking here. The FAQ Document linked below from Phelps Dunbar provides the firm’s perspective on H-2A related questions including:
- Will my H-2A workers arrive on time?
- What if I can’t pay the ¾ wage guarantee because of economic slowdowns?
- If my H-2A worker contracts COVID-19 on the farm, am I liable for their medical expenses?
- Should I quarantine an H-2A worker who merely shows symptoms of COBID-19?
- Are we required to repatriate H-2A employees who have tested positive for coronavirus?
- How should I respond when an H-2A worker wants to leave due to coronavirus fears?