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DHS has temporarily changed H-2A rules to minimize disruption of agriculture caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

DHS has temporarily changed H-2A rules to minimize disruption of agriculture caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

DOL Announces Enhancement of iCERT System to Streamline Processing in H-2A and H-2B Programs

along with: In an effort to help mitigate delays associated with connecting State Workforce Agency (SWA) documentation to the employer’s pending H-2A or H-2B application and provide employers with better customer service, DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) announced an update to its iCERT System to allow authorized SWA staff to electronically upload supporting documentation and other information directly to the employer’s pending application for immediate review by the assigned Chicago National Processing Center (CNPC) analyst. Initially, OFLC will be implementing this update in 33 states, with the goal of nationwide implementation by September 30, 2018.

In an effort to help mitigate delays associated with connecting State Workforce Agency (SWA) documentation to the employer’s pending H-2A or H-2B application and provide employers with better customer service, DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) announced an update to its iCERT System to allow authorized SWA staff to electronically upload supporting documentation and other information directly to the employer’s pending application for immediate review by the assigned Chicago National Processing Center (CNPC) analyst. Initially, OFLC will be implementing this update in 33 states, with the goal of nationwide implementation by September 30, 2018.

DOL Announces Changes to Its iCERT System for H-2A and H-2B Programs

For FY2017, more than 83 percent of H-2A applications and approximately 94 percent of H-2B applications were submitted electronically through the iCERT System with very little system disruption during the peak filing season. In an effort to provide better service and ensure more complete H-2A and H-2B applications are submitted for review, DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) will release new enhancements to the iCERT System on or about October 10, 2017.

California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage

Fortune reports that a shortage of migrant workers is resulting in lost crops in California, triggering losses of more than $13 million in two California counties alone. Farmers say they’re having trouble hiring enough people to work during harvest season, causing some crops to rot before they can be picked. The ongoing battle about U.S. immigration policies is blamed for the shortage. The vast majority of California’s farm workers are foreign born, with many coming from Mexico through the acquisition of an H-2A visa. However, recent research indicates that more Mexican nationals are exiting the United States than entering.

H2A electronic approvals

Beginning on May 11, 2016, USCIS will use a new process to send electronic approval information for H-2A petitions to DOS by the end of the next business day, in place of a Form I-797 approval notice. Consular posts can then process an H-2A nonimmigrant visa application and conduct any required interview. Coinciding with the launch of USCIS/DOS e-Approval

Need an H-2A or H-2B?

USCIS and DHS, in consultation with DOS, have added 16 countries (Andorra, Belgium, Brunei, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Singapore, Taiwan, and Timor-Leste) to the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs for 2016. The notice listing the eligible countries was published in the Federal Register today.

Got Milk?

Today, DOL published in the Federal Register a final rule on the temporary agricultural employment of H–2A foreign workers in the field of herding and production of livestock on the range. The rule is effective on November 16, 2015, and implements a new wage methodology with a two-year transition period during 2016 and 2017, and full implementation beginning in 2018

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