H-2A Visa changes should provide a new push to US farming

We previously reported about the much needed changes to the H2A Visa Program announced last week. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced several reforms in the H-2A visa system, which allows farmers to hire foreigners for field work that Americans are unwilling to do.

Click here to download the Press release with the Changes Download file

According to the AZ Starnet, “For every farmworker, there are three to 3.5 jobs created in related industries such as chemicals, trucking, refrigeration, fertilizer, packaging . . . a lot of different operations,” Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, said last year. He said his agricultural trade organization represents 3,000 members who grow roughly half the produce in the United States.

“If you lose a good portion of those farm jobs, you could be talking about the loss of a million jobs or more in the United States.”
H-2A visas are unlimited, meaning employers can bring in as many seasonal or temporary workers as they need. The government’s H-2A changes should also help make the immigrant work force more mobile by making it easier for more immigrants to come and go as they please. Let us see what employers and Farming groups will do with these changes and whether it will streamline this very complex process.