The primary function of Agriculture Workforce Management Association, Inc. (AWMA) is to provide guidance to its stockholder employers who wish to apply for temporary alien agricultural labor certification for the purpose of employing H2A workers on a temporary or seasonal basis.
"Owned and Managed by Agricultural Employers"
DOL Proposes Changes to the H-2A Program
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) announced the submission of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reform the H-2A visa program. The proposed rule is 489 pages long.
The proposed rule would provide employers with the option to stagger the entry of their workforce for up to 120 days after the first day of need.
They also proposed changing the 50% rule. The current rules require employers to hire domestic workers that apply for the job if you have not yet completed 50% of the contract. The proposed rule would only require employers to hire a domestic applicant in the first 30 days of the contract, if you are not staggering your workers. This would also cut the time required for the job to be posted with your state workforce agency (SWA).
Wages. Currently, the AEWR combines all possible farm position pay rates into one wage in a region. The new proposal would disaggregate occupations for farm workers, equipment operators, etc. This would more closely mirror the H-2B program. The USDA survey is still the primary choice for pay rates if there is enough data to make that decision. If there isn’t enough data, they would use the OES survey. Until the rule is finalized, we won’t know the wage rate.
There is a 60 day comment period on this rule change. The new rule could go into effect in the October to December timeframe.
Effective October 21, 2019, newspaper advertising has been eliminated. All H-2A jobs will be posted on a DOL website for potential U.S. workers to apply.
A lot of changes coming to the H-2A program!!
H-2A Application Guideline
We need your application & payment, 75 days prior to your date of need.
If you need workers by February 15, we need your application no later than December 1.
If you need workers by March 1, we need your application no later than December 15.
If you need workers by March 15, we need your application no later than January 1.
If you need workers by April 1, we need your application no later than January 15.
If you need workers by April 15, we need your application no later than Feburary 1.
If you need workers by May 1, we need your application no later than February 15.
If you need workers by May 15, we need your application no later than March 1.
We can not accept faxed, emailed, or two-sided applications.
We must have original documents signed in ink!
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Farm Labor Report was published today. The hourly wage rate from this report will be used as the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for 2020.
KY, TN, WV $12.40 up 77 cents OK, TX $12.67 up 44 cents
AR, LA, MS $11.83 up 50 cents
IL, IN, OH $14.52 up $1.26
IA, MO $14.58 up $1.24
CO, NV, UT $14.26 up $1.13
PA $13.34 up 19 cents
It is Time to Take Action
The hourly wages from the USDA NASS report will be the H-2A labor rates for 2020. These rates are out of control and are not sustainable. Something must be done. Our attempt, along with other ag groups, will be to attach a rider to the appropriations bill freezing the H-2A wages at the 2019 rates. It will be a long shot, but the fact that Congress has failed to pass the appropriations bill gives us a small chance. The current appropriations bill is effect until December 20. This has only a small chance of success, but it is chance we must take.
This freeze would also allow USDA & the Department of Labor time to come up with a different process to calculate wages rates for the H-2A program.
If you think the hourly wages for H-2A program are not sustainable, we need you to take the following action. Call your U.S. Representative & Senator in your state, and tell them how this increase will effect you and for them to support a rider to the appropriations bill that would freeze H-2A wages at the 2019 rates.
U.S Senator Contact Information - www.senate.gov/senators/contact
U.S. House of Representatives Contact Information - www.house.gov/representatives
Also, call you State Farm Bureau Office’s and give them your input.