Obama Suspends Recent H-2A Agricultural Worker Rule Changes

According to an update from the American Horse Council (AHC), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has suspended the recent changes to the H-2A program made by the Bush Administration in December 2008.

On Dec. 18 DOL adopted a final rule outlining new procedures for the administration of the H-2A temporary agricultural alien worker program. Many horse breeding farms employ foreign workers for temporary periods through this program. Those new regulations took effect Jan. 17, 2009.

On March 17 the DOL proposed to suspend the Dec. 18 rule and accepted public comment on the proposed suspension for 10 days.

On May 29, 2009, the DOL suspend the Dec. 18, 2008, H-2A Final Rule that went into effect Jan. 17, 2009, to reexamine it and possibly come out with a new rule. This suspension will last nine months. During this period, the previous rules that were in place prior to Jan. 17 will be reinstated for those wishing to employ H-2A workers. The suspension of the current rule and reinstatement of the previous rule will take effect June 28.

H-2A applications that have already been filed according to the new Dec. 18 regulations or are filed before the June 28 suspension will be processed under those regulations. However, all new applications after that date will have to be filed in accordance with the requirements of the previous regulations.

After the nine-month examination period, the DOL will either propose a new rule for public comment or reinstate the Dec. 18 rule.

For more information on this topic from the AHC see http://www.horsecouncil.org/legislation/immigration110.php.

For more information on Employment and Immigration see http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=13532.

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