Department of Labor unveils new H-2A proposal
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Department of Labor unveils new H-2A proposal

The long-awaited modernization proposes several changes to H-2A regulations.

August 5, 2019

The Department of Labor (DOL) has posted on its website a copy of the long-awaited H-2A modernization proposed rule. The official version was posted in the Federal Register July 26. The 134-page rule is available for review and comments from interested parties will be accepted on the Federal Register until Sept. 24.

The modernization intends to streamline the process by which DOL reviews employers’ applications for temporary agricultural labor certifications. Some proposed changes would:

  • Make it easier for employers to modify an approved job order, subject to limitations;
  • Allow employers to “stagger” entry of workers during the first 120 days of a contract;
  • Limits the so-called “50% rule” under which an employer must continue to hire any willing and qualified domestic workers who apply during the first half of the contract. The hiring rule would be limited to 30 days after the start of the contract or the full length of the “staggered entry” period if longer than 30 days

The proposal would not change the existing housing requirement. It also features a discussion on H-2A wages, and invites comment on that as well as a number of other important issues.

Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort's vice president for government relations and research, said the industry association is closely studying the proposal and will develop official comments in close collaboration with other interested employer stakeholders.