House Passes Farm Workforce Bill

December 12, 2019

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, easing immigration for agricultural workers.

The bill would give “blue cards” to agricultural workers who have worked at least 180 days on farms over the past two years. They would become eligible for five-year renewable visas that would require working at least 100 days each year in agriculture. Those workers would eventually be given the option to earn permanent legal status but must have at least 14 years of work history in agriculture before they can apply.

The bill would also make changes to the H-2A program by giving farmer employers more options to stagger labor needs in the application process and creating a single filing process with the multiple agencies involved in bringing in guest workers.

For employers who need full-time workers, the bill would dedicate 40,000 green cards per year for agricultural workers. The bill would also create a new program for temporary workers that can last up to three years. This program would have a cap that could be lifted if market conditions warrant it.

To review the text of the entire bill, please follow this link.

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