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“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

— Henry David Thoreau

Regulatory Actions:

The state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board plans to hold more hearings in January on potentially lowering the overtime work threshold for farm laborers from 60 to 40 hours per week, bypassing a Dec. 15 legal deadline.

The most recent Farm Labor Survey data is out, and 2022’s Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for H-2A workers is rising in Michigan and across the country.

The Biden administration will lift travel restrictions on eight southern African countries imposed last month over concerns about the fast-spreading COVID-19 Omicron variant, the White House said Friday.

The White House on Friday announced that it is lifting the travel restrictions it imposed on eight southern African countries last month following the discovery of the COVID-19 omicron variant.

H-2 and Other Worker Status Issues:

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) joined a bipartisan contingent of lawmakers requesting that the Biden administration permit H-2A farmworkers from South Africa to temporarily travel to the United States to supplement labor shortages on American farms.

Is the H-2A program popular?

In recent US immigration developments, the Department of State has authorized consular offices to forgo the in-person interview requirement for some nonimmigrant visa applicants.

NCAE This Week:

The House and Senate are out.

 

The ban on travel from several southern African countries, including South Africa, was lifted by the Biden Administration.  The ban had been put into place in order to protect the US from the Omicron variant of COVID-19.  This announcement to US employers who work with South African H-2A workers.  Vaccine requirements and processing challenges will remain.  NCAE had made a request, along with several other ag groups, to lift the ban.

 

Last night the Biden Administration’s rule on vaccination requirements for land border crossings went to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the White House.  In November NCAE filed a letter with several agencies (State, Labor, CDC, NSC, USDA) raising the concern that CDC approved vaccines are very difficult to source in many of the countries that supply temporary workers to US ag employers.

 

Hopefully, the aforementioned rule that is on review at OIRA, will take NCAE’s concerns into account.

 

Planning is underway for NCAE’s Annual Meeting to be held at the beautiful Park Hyatt in Georgetown.  Invitations are out to members of Congress as well as Cabinet members.  Please join us in Georgetown February 8-10, 2022.

 

And speaking of 2022, let’s hope it’s brighter than 2021 and that COVID will soon be in our rear view mirror.

 

Happy New Year!

Michael

News articles and citations of interest for week ending 2021/12/31

Labor is typically always tight on the fresh produce farm.

The United States has changed substantially from its birth as an overwhelmingly agricultural country.

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