On October 12, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule governing the H-2A agricultural non-immigrant visa program. The Labor Department has overseen the H-2A visa program since 2010 under the current regulatory framework.

Originally, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in July 2019. The Department of Labor has since decided to divide the final rules related to the proposed changes into two separate rules. The first, published today, will not approach the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) methodology. There will be a second rule published at a later time that will be specific to AEWR calculation changes.

The new rule will be effective as of November 14, 2022, but the DOL indicated there will be a transition period and the old rule will still be operative for those applications submitted prior to November 14, 2022, or the first date of need is no later than February 12, 2023 (90 days after the effective date of the rule). The following is a list of some of the major changes that the DOL has identified in the new rule:

  • Mandates electronic filing with limited exceptions
  • Establishes a single point of entry for electronic filing
  • Permits the use of electronic methods for notices and requests to be sent by the Department of Labor
  • Contains new standards pertaining to joint employment of workers
  • Expands the state agencies that may conduct prevailing-wage surveys
  • Addresses wage changes that may occur during the work contract period

For more information, we encourage you to visit the Harris Beach PLLC seasonal visa web page or refer to blog posts on H-2B and H-2A visa issues.

About Harris Beach’s Temporary and Seasonal Labor Practice

Harris Beach PLLC maintains one of the largest temporary and seasonal visa practices in the country. L.J. D’Arrigo, co-leader of the firm’s Immigration Practice Group and Jarrod Sharp, Sr. Counsel, are nationally recognized for processing seasonal visas. Our immigration attorneys provide guidance to some of the largest employers in the U.S. across industry sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality, construction, landscaping, equine and others. Our immigration lawyers have assisted in the drafting of legislation affecting seasonal businesses and currently represent the largest commercial landscaping, tree nursery and home security companies in the nation. We facilitate the processing of more than 5,000 temporary workers through the H-2A and H-2B programs each season. We have also been successful in developing long-term permanent labor solutions for our clients.

If you have questions about the new rule or assistance with your filing for the H-2A program, please reach out to our team of experienced attorneys.