The U.S. Department of Labor announced a final H-2A regulation Friday, saying the rule was crafted to target the “vulnerability and abuses experienced by workers under the H-2A program that undermine fair labor standards for all farmworkers in the U.S.”

The H-2A program allows employers to hire temporary agricultural workers when there is a lack of “able, willing and qualified” U.S. workers. The new rule includes sections:

  • Adding new protections for worker self-advocacy.
  • Clarifying “for cause” termination.
  • Making foreign labor recruitment more transparent.
  • Ensuring timely wage changes for H-2A workers.
  • Improving transportation safety.
  • Preventing labor exploitation and human trafficking.
  • Ensuring employer accountability.

The final rule is scheduled to take effect on June 28; however, H-2A applications filed before Aug. 28, will be processed according to federal regulations as is in effect as of June 27. Applications submitted on or after Aug. 29, 2024, will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the new rule.

Additional Information: The 600-page rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Monday, April 29. A pre-publication version is available here. BAL continues to review the rule and is available to help employers develop an H-2A strategy to ensure that key roles are filled. More information is available on BAL’s H-2 temporary workforce solutions page.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group.

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