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Immigration Law

H-2A Visa Temporary Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 244 / Friday, December 18, 2020

"As a result of continued disruptions and uncertainty to the U.S. food agriculture sector during the upcoming winter and spring agricultural seasons caused by the global novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency, the Department of Homeland Security, (“DHS” or “the Department”), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has decided it is necessary to temporarily extend the amendments to certain regulations regarding temporary and seasonal agricultural workers, and their U.S. employers, within the H–2A nonimmigrant classification. Through this temporary final rule 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. DHS will apply this temporary final rule to H2A 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. DATES: This final rule is effective from December 18, 2020, through December 18, 2023. Employers may request the flexibilities under this rule by filing an H–2A petition on or after December 18, 2020, and through June 16, 2021."