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Labor department streamlines H-2A

Labor department streamlines H-2A

Proposed rule allows online job recruiting for H-2A Temporary Agricultural Labor Certification Program.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) introduced a proposed rule to allow for online job recruiting for the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Labor Certification Program -- a welcome action to help streamline the current agricultural workforce program.

The proposal eliminates the requirement to advertise a job opening in print newspapers and instead shifts to advertising on the DOL and State Workforce Agency websites, which are further reaching and more cost effective. Also, DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification announced updates to the pertinent H-2A forms and online filing process for the H-2A temporary agricultural program.

In a statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said these two actions will ease regulatory burdens on our farmers and ranchers, making it easier for them to follow the law and hire farm workers through the H-2A program.

“Both of these actions by DOL are critical changes the Administration is making to improve the H-2A application process,” Perdue said. “By streamlining these processes, DOL is bringing the H-2A process into the 21st century, allowing farmers to be able to better and cost-effectively advertise for workers they need and fill out the required forms faster and more efficiently, because no one should have to hire a lawyer to hire a farm worker. I commend President [Donald] Trump for his continued support of America’s farmers, ranchers and producers.”

In addition to making it easier for Americans to find and fill open jobs, the rule will reduce regulatory burdens like the requirement that all employers advertise in a print newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment as the method of recruitment.

DOL’s new labor application process modernizes two forms by making them electronic forms, hence removing time intensive paper applications that require delivery via mail. DOL will continue to accept online submissions of the current Form ETA-9142A (and job orders uploaded using the current Form ETA-790, Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Order) through the iCERT System until Oct. 16, 2019.

Beginning Oct. 1, an employer seeking to employ emergency H-2A workers or those starting on or after Dec. 15, 2019, must submit a job order using the new form ETA-790/790A (and corresponding addendums) and an H-2A application using the new form ETA-9142A (and corresponding appendices) in the FLAG System. For more information, visit DOL’s Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) page.

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) chief executive officer Dr. Barbara P. Glenn praised the steps taken by DOL.

“Producers have been asking for this rule for years, and now they will have the flexibility to advertise online, like any other employer. NASDA looks forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress on changes that will ensure that our farmers and ranchers have access to the 21st-century workforce they need,” Glenn said in a statement.

TAGS: Policy
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