Call Us Today: 202-787-1944


Immigration News
Changes in immigration that impact your life.

Home  >  Immigration News  >  News Archive  >  USCIS  >  News Article

News Jump: 


USCIS Streamlines the H-2A Visa Program
ARTICLE TOOLS
Print This Article
Discuss This Topic
Create News Alerts
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today changes to the H-2A regulations that will streamline the hiring process of temporary and seasonal agricultural workers. This final rule will facilitate the H-2A visa process for employers by removing certain limitations and will further encourage lawful employment. The proposed changes in the H-2A visa program stem from the commitment made by President Bush’s Administration in August 2007, after Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform. This final rule supplements the extensive reforms of the H-2A visa program.

U.S. employers may file an H-2A visa petition with USCIS if they have a shortage of available U.S. workers to fill temporary or seasonal agricultural jobs. Once the petition is approved, the employers can hire foreign workers to fill those jobs for a limited period of time. The final rule includes mechanisms to enhance the integrity of the program, increase protection of U.S. workers, and protect H-2A workers from unscrupulous employers and recruiters.

Key areas of reform addressed in the final rule include:
  • Relaxing the current limitations on H-2A employers to petition for multiple, unnamed agricultural workers;


  • Extending from 10 days to 30 days the time a temporary or seasonal agricultural worker may remain in the country following the expiration of his or her temporary H-2A stay;


  • Reducing from six months to three months the time an H-2A worker who has spent three years in the United States must reside and be physically present outside the United States before he or she is eligible to re-obtain H-2A status;


  • Allowing H-2A workers, who are changing from one H-2A employer to another H-2A employer, to begin work with the new petitioning employer upon the filing of a new H-2A petition, provided the new employer is participating in USCIS’ E-Verify program (accessible through the "Related Links" section of this page);


  • Prohibiting H-2A employers and recruiters from imposing certain fees on prospective H-2A workers as a condition of employment;


  • Requiring an approved temporary labor certification in connection with all H-2A petitions;


  • Requiring employers to notify USCIS when H-2A workers fail to show up for work, complete the work more than 30 days early, are terminated, or abscond from the worksite; and


  • Permitting the approval of H-2A visa petitions only for nationals of certain countries designated as important to the operation of the program and appearing on a list to be published annually in the Federal Register. The initial list of participating countries to be published simultaneously with this Final Rule includes Mexico, Jamaica, and 26 others. DHS may allow on a case-by-case basis a worker from a country not on the list to be eligible for the H-2A visa program if such participation is in the U.S. interest.
This rule will also establish a land-border exit system pilot program requiring H-2A workers admitted through a port of entry participating in the pilot program to also depart through a participating port and to present designated biographic and/or biometric information upon departure.

These changes are being made in further fulfillment of the commitment made by President George W. Bush’s Administration in August 2007, after Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, to address immigration challenges using existing authorities.

This final rule supplements the extensive reforms of the H-2A program that are included in the Department of Labor’s final rule. The final rule has been transmitted to the Federal Register and will become effective 30 days after it is posted.


ARTICLE TOOLS
Print This Article
Discuss This Topic
Create News Alerts



MORE USCIS STORIES:
Change In Filing Address For Certain H-1B and H-1B1 Petitions
FY 2017 H1B Cap Update: USCIS Returns Petitions Not Selected in the H1B Lottery
Nebraska Service Center to Accept Certain H-1B1 and H1B Petitions
Form I-129 Petition Seeking Extension of Status or Change of Employer Pending for Over 210 Days: Petitioners May Now Submit Inquiries With USCIS
More >>

TOP STORIES:
USCIS October 2016 Visa Bulletin Update
Visa Bulletin October 2016: EB-2 and EB-3 Priority Dates Advance For All Countries
USCIS September 2016 Visa Bulletin Update
Change In Filing Address For Certain H-1B and H-1B1 Petitions
More >>

News Jump: 

U.S. Immigration Attorney - Consult Now!

IMMIGRATION CENTER
Immigration Services
  Fast, Easy and Economical Avoid Costly Immigration Errors!
Immigration Guide
 Know Your U.S. Immigration Options
Immigration Law FAQ
 Detailed Answers to Your Immigration Questions
Immigration Articles
  Interesting and Useful Articles on a Variety of Relevant Topics

How can we help you?
MESSAGE BOARDS
How do I fill Form I-129?
When do I start Green Card?

Discuss US Immigration
NEWSLETTER - FREE!
Receive latest immigration updates and free legal tips by e-mail. Sign up now!
IMMIGRATION DICTIONARY
Legal terms explained in plain English!
RELATED ARTICLES
H1B Address Change of Work Locations: When Do You Have To File H1B Amended Petitions?
H1B Visa Lottery 2016: Improving Your Odds of Success
H1B Visa Cap 2016: Things You Must Know
Filing H1B Cap 2017 Petitions:How To Get A Head Start With VisaPro’s H1B Visa 2017 Timeline
H1B Cap Exempt Employers: How Do You Find Out If You Qualify?
H-1B Cap Has Reached:How Do You Hire H-1B Cap Exempt Candidates?
2017 H1B Cap Petitions:How To Properly File With USCIS
H1B Cap Exempt – Are You Eligible?
5 Common H1B Cap 2017 Filing Mistakes - How to Avoid Them
H1B Cap 2017 Filing Secrets: Why You Should Plan Now?
More Articles...

CONSULT ATTORNEY
Get a detailed, written opinion online in less than 3 business days from a licensed immigration attorney.
Experienced Immigration Attorneys - Consult Online or By Telephone

YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS
Alerts & Newsletter
Create and Manage your
e-mail alerts for FREE.
RSS