U.S. State Department revision makes more immigrant workers available
The U.S. State Department revised its restrictions on the processing of visa applications submitted by farm workers in Mexico. Consular officers can now waive the visa interview requirement for eligible first-time and returning H-2A and H-2B applicants, making more workers in the H-2 program available while prioritizing public health.
“We applaud the administration for recognizing the contributions H-2A and H-2B workers make on farms across this country to ensure Americans have access to healthy, affordable food,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said.
On March 18, as a step to try to contain the spread of COVID-19, the United States suspended routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing services in Mexico.
In 2019, U.S. farmers had received 258,000 H-2A workers. In 2018, 93% of H-2A laborers came from Mexico.
The State Department’s revision came after Farm Bureau and other agricultural stakeholders voiced concerns that the restrictions would lead to a farm worker shortage in the U.S.