Updated rules in place for H-2A

The first major rule changes made to the H-2A guest worker program in more than a decade take effect this week.

National Legislative Council John Kran is with Michigan Farm Bureau.

“More and more farmers are looking at it as the only option to find workers they need, but ultimately we know more farmers are going to be reliant on H-2A as we continue to move forward because that’s the trend we continue to see with labor availability,” he says.

Kran tells Brownfield the program revisions have been ongoing since the Trump administration proposed changes in 2019.

“What we have today, while there are some similarities to that original rule we saw, there are a lot of things that we have been advocating for that are not included,” he says.

President Biden froze all pending rule changes when taking office including the Department of Labor’s updates to the H-2A program.  Many of the changes focus on improving living conditions for workers and the filing process.

Kran says the updates do not allow for year-round use of the program and wages could change for farmers throughout a season.

“They may start the contract with one wage rate and it could go up theoretically during the time the workers are here, which the farmer would not expect to have happen,” he explains.

Farms will have to abide by the new rules after February 14th.

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