Monday, May 9, 2011

Immigration: Fixing the guest-worker program -

Growers say the current H-2A program is tooexpensive and cumbersome, requiring them to file multiple applications with state and federal labor officials to help meet their needs for legal labor. They are asked to predict months or even a year in advance how many workers they will need, even though crop yields? and harvest times can vary from season to season. They also must demonstrate that they tried to hire U.S. workers by posting online ads before they can apply for the visas.

Now growers are asking Congress to roll back changes made to the program last year by the Obama administration. They say the new rules, including an increase in the average pay of field workers and a requirement that government officials inspect worker housing, have made the program impractical and left them with little choice but to hire illegal workers or watch their crops rot.

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