The H-2A visa allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States, permitting them to obtain temporary agricultural jobs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were continuous disruptions and a lack of labor for the agricultural sector in the U.S. The USCIS temporarily extended certain amendments regarding temporary and seasonal agricultural workers. The H-2A employees who have valid temporary labor certifications issued by the U.S Department of Labor can apply for extensions of stay H-2A petitions. Once the extension of stay petition is received by the USCIS, the foreign national can work with a new employer.
The extension of stay will be applicable to the H-2A employees if the H-2A petition were received by the USCIS on or after December 18th, 2020. The extension of the H-2A petition will not be accepted by the USCIS after June 16th, 2021. The temporary extension of the H-2A visa was to ensure agricultural employers have an adequate labor force to help with the nation’s food supply chain. The H-2A visa helps to reduce unauthorized immigrants and supports the timely flow of legal foreign workers.