Farm group warns of ‘bare shelves’ without expedited work visas
Agricultural employers warned of “bare shelves in grocery stores” in a letter to the State Department if it does not find a way to expedite its review of visa applications for foreign agricultural workers as U.S. farmers prepare for spring planting.
The Agriculture Workforce Coalition said it welcomed the State Department’s decision to review some applications for H-2A agricultural visas after saying on Monday that it was suspending action on all visa applications at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and U.S. consulates throughout Mexico.
However, in a Tuesday email, the embassy notified H-2A and H-2B visa applicants that the consulate in Monterrey will give priority to processing people who have held H-2A or H-2B visas in the past 12 months, are seeking to renew those visas and qualify for a waiver from the requirement of an in-person interview.
But the coalition said in its letter Tuesday that only a portion of visa seekers will qualify for priority. The employers argue the decision comes as farmers need workers and will delay the arrival of labor on farms. Under the program, workers sign contracts for seasonal work for U.S. growers and enter under H-2A visas sponsored by the growers.
Submitted by, sheltomlee.