If you have a loved one who’s in the U.S. on an H-2 visa, it’s important to know about a new rule proposed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The proposed rule would benefit H-2A and H-2B visa holders and make things easier for their employers as well.
In addressing the proposed rule, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, “These proposed reforms will help U.S. employers address worker shortages through new program flexibilities. They will also help provide this vulnerable population of workers with the protections they deserve.”
As you may know, H-2 visas let people live and work in the U.S. on a seasonal or other temporary basis. Seasonal agricultural workers can qualify for H-2A visas. Seasonal non-agricultural workers (for example, those who work in the hospitality and landscaping industries) can apply for H-2B visas. Certainly, both of those types of workers are essential here in Florida as well as in other parts of the country.
Protections for workers and benefits for employers
The proposed rule would provide added workplace and other protections for H-2 visa holders, including the following:
- Increase whistleblower protections
- Make it more difficult for employers to charge them illegal fees
- Extend the length of time they can remain in the U.S. legally after a job ends so that they have more time to find another job
The rule would also make it easier for employers to hire these workers who are already here on an H-2 visa by eliminating some of the red tape.
While the rule hasn’t be finalized yet, it’s important for those with H-2 visas to know their rights as well as any changes in the law that could affect their rights and their ability to live and work here. Having experienced legal guidance can help.