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DHS/USCIS RIN: 1615-AC55 Publication ID: Fall 2020 
Title: Temporary Changes to Requirements Affecting H-2A Nonimmigrants due to the COVID-19 National Emergency: Partial Extension of Certain Flexibilities 

As a result of disruptions and uncertainty to the U.S. food agriculture sector during the upcoming summer agricultural season caused by the global novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency, on April 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, temporarily amended the regulations regarding temporary and seasonal agricultural workers, and their U.S. employers, within the H-2A nonimmigrant classification. The Department temporarily removed certain limitations on agricultural employers and workers in order to provide agricultural employers with an orderly and timely flow of legal foreign workers, thereby protecting the integrity of the nation's food supply chain and decreasing possible reliance on unauthorized aliens, while encouraging agricultural employers' use of the H-2A program, which protects the rights of U.S. and foreign workers.

Namely, the Department allowed H-2A employers whose extension of stay H-2A petitions were supported by valid temporary labor certifications issued by the Department of Labor to begin work immediately after the extension of stay petition is received by USCIS. The Department also temporarily amended its regulations to allow H-2A workers to stay in the United States beyond the 3 years maximum allowable period of stay. DHS applied that temporary final rule to H- 2A petitions requesting an extension of stay, and, if applicable, any associated applications for an extension of stay filed by or on behalf of an H-2A worker, if they were (a) received on or after March 1, 2020, and remained pending as of the effective date of this rule, and (b) received on or after the April 20, 2020 through August 18, 2020, the last day the April 20, 2020, temporary final rule (TFR) was in effect. In light of the continued public health emergency, DHS is partially extending some of the provisions in the April 20, 2020 TFR through the August 19, 2020, TFR. While the provisions allowing immediate employment following receipt of a new H-2A petition are included in the new August 19, 2020, TFR, the TFR will no longer allow, as in the previous TFR, H-2A workers to stay in the United States beyond their 3 year maximum allowable period of stay.

Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Other 
CFR Citation: 8 CFR 214    8 CFR 274a     (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.)
Legal Authority: 6 U.S.C. 202    6 U.S.C. 212    6 U.S.C. 236    8 U.S.C. 1103    8 U.S.C. 1184    8 U.S.C. 1324a    48 U.S.C. 1806    8 U.S.C. 1101    ...   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
Temporary Final Rule  04/20/2020  85 FR 21739   
Temporary Final Rule Effective--04/20/2020 through 08/18/2020  04/20/2020 
Temporary Final Rule  08/20/2020  85 FR 51304   
Temporary Final Rule Effective 8/19/2020 through 8/19/2023  08/20/2020 
Temporary Final Rule  12/00/2020 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Information URL:  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Charles Nimick
Chief, Business and Foreign Workers Division, Office of Policy and Strategy
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
5900 Capital Gateway Drive, Suite 4S190,
Camp Springs, MD 20588-0009
Phone:240 721-3000