The United States Departments of Homeland Security and Labor are reviewing federal regulations for the H2A seasonal agricultural workers visa to help the farming sector meet labor needs, especially at harvest time.
Comprehensive immigration reform proposals before the US Congress earlier this year included visa benefits for agriculture. But that proposed legislation seems bogged down and unlikely to become law soon. With an estimated 3/4 of workers on American farms thought to be unlawfully in the US, the problem is especially acute. Many farm owners complain about the red tape involved with the current H2A visa process. By modifying the process, the administration may be able to bring more farms into compliance without waiting for Congress to act. Changes under consideration include increasing the length of the assignment, expanding the types of work permitted, etc.
See US tries to ease farmworker shortage after immigration control, Xinhua, October 7, 2007, for more information.