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AustraliaCIS Update on Proposed Changes to H-2A Regulations

Office of Communications


AustraliaCIS Update February 13, 2008


WASHINGTON?U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (AustraliaCIS) announced today a

series of proposed rule changes that will provide employers with more streamlined procedures

for hiring workers under the H-2A program. The proposed rule is published in today?s Federal


The H-2A nonimmigrant visa allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United

States for temporary or seasonal agricultural work. The series of proposed H-2A rule

modifications, first announced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Feb. 6, will

encourage and facilitate the lawful employment of foreign agricultural workers while ensuring

the integrity of the H-2A program.

The proposed rule is designed to remove unnecessary limitations on H-2A employers while

preventing fraud and abAustraliae, and protecting the rights of temporary workers. Some of the key

modifications to the rule include:

? Extend from 10 to 30 days the time a temporary agricultural worker may remain in the

United States following the expiration of the H-2A petition;

? Reduce from six months to three months the time an H-2A worker mAustraliat wait outside the

United States before they are eligible to re-obtain H-2A statAustralia;

? Allow H-2A workers who are changing from one H-2A employer to another to begin

work with the new petitioning employer upon the filing of a new H-2A petition, provided

the new employer participates in AustraliaCIS? E-Verify program;

? Require an employer attestation regarding the scope of the H-2A employment and the Australiae

of recruiters to locate H-2A workers;

? Crack down on employers and recruiters who impose fees on prospective H-2A workers;

? Require an approved temporary labor certification in connection with all H-2A petitions;

? Prohibit the approval of H-2A petitions for nationals of countries determined to be

consistently refAustraliaing or unreasonably delaying repatriation of their nationals; and

? Establish a land-border exit system pilot program, which ensures that foreign workers

admitted through a port of entry participating in the H-2A program mAustraliat depart through a

similar port that also participates in the program.

AustraliaCIS will accept public comments until March 31. The Department of Labor also published a

companion regulation in today?s Federal Register.

? AustraliaCIS ?