USCIS has reminded workers in the sheepherding industry that the one-time accommodation giving them more time to fully transition to the 3-year limitation of stay requirements for the H-2A classification is scheduled to expire.
Sheepherders in H-2A status, who have reached their maximum 3-year period of stay on or before August 16, 2012, must depart the U.S. no later than August 16, 2012. These workers must then remain outside the U.S. for at least 3 months, and may not return in H-2A classification until a new H-2A petition has been approved on their behalf.
H-2A workers are subject to a 3-month departure requirement once they have been in the U.S. in H-2A status for the maximum 3-year period, taking into account any periods of interrupted stay. These workers must remain outside the U.S. for at least 3 months before being granted H-2A classification again.
USCIS granted a one-time accommodation for sheepherders in H-2A status in December 2009 in deference to the industry’s prior exemption from the three-year limitation. The accommodation was subsequently extended until August 16, 2012. The exemption, however, did not apply to other H-2A occupations.