As a result of the current federal government shutdown, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification at the U.S. Dept. of Labor (DOL) is shuttered and the processing of H-2A applications has come to a halt.
If a budget deal is not reached soon, the Yuma and Imperial winter vegetable harvest in Southern California and Southwestern Arizona, which relies on thousands of H-2A workers, as well as other areas of the country that rely on H-2A workers during the winter, will suffer significant adverse impacts, according to Western Growers.
The association is in direct communications with ranking officials at DOL and USDA, plus relevant legislative offices.
“We are seeking an immediate exemption from furloughs for H-2A adjudicators and certifying officers,” Western Growers said.
“In the alternative, Western Growers is requesting that the various agencies involved in the H-2A process implement our recommended contingency plans for expediting H-2A applications immediately upon the resumption of the government.”
Members of Western Growers provide half of the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts, including a third of America’s fresh organic produce.
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