The Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C., proposed modifications to both the H-2A and H-2B temporary guest worker programs in September.
The proposed rule would provide greater flexibility and protections for participating workers, and improve the program’s efficiency, according to a DHS press release.
“For years, H-2A and H-2B temporary worker visa recipients have been essential to our seasonal and agricultural economies,” says Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security. “These proposed reforms will help U.S. employers address worker shortages through new program flexibilities. They will also help provide this vulnerable population of workers with the protections they deserve. Alongside our partners across the Biden-Harris administration, DHS is committed to safeguarding our economy, our security and our American values.”
The proposed rule would penalize employers violating H-2B program requirements, including those not showing intent to comply. The rule aims to protect H-2 workers by clearly prohibiting certain employer fees and penalizing violations, while also providing workers more flexibility in job changes and immigration status.
For employers, the rule would make H-2 portability permanent to allow the hiring of existing H-2 workers in the U.S., even if the employer’s H-2 petition is still pending.
The rule’s 60-day public comment period ends Nov. 20.
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