NPC Pushes Back Against Proposed Ag Labor Rules

The National Potato Council joined ag industry organizations in submitting letters and comments to the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security questioning aspects of a new proposed rule reforming the H-2A program.

While welcoming some aspects of the rule that would streamline the H-2A process for employers and employees alike, NPC noted that “the regulated community is very concerned with some of the provisions surrounding the ‘due diligence’ that is needed to ensure an employer is not debarred from the H-2 programs for the actions of unknown third parties. This ‘due diligence’ requirement is not well described and comes across more as an idea than a proposal from the Department.”

As reported by POLITICO, another point of contention on the DHS rule “is the inclusion of a 60-day grace period, in which H–2 workers can stop working for their petitioner while maintaining their visa status, and another 10-day extension in which they may seek new qualifying employment or prepare for departure from the United States.”

In its letter, NPC noted its concern that the work grace period has employers concerned that it can be abused. “While it may be true that some H-2 employers may take advantage of their H-2 workforce, that certainly is not true for the majority of H-2 employers. There are over 17,688 unique H-2 employers that filed for H-2 workers in Fiscal Year 2023 and currently only 99 H-2 employers are debarred from the programs. Meaning 0.0056% of H-2 employers have violated the H-2 programs and been removed from the ability to use the programs,” NPC wrote.

NPC’s full letter can be found here.