Fee Hikes for H-2A Pt 1

Fee Hikes for H-2A Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. A pair of bills in Olympia propose increasing fees for H-2A visa workers, creating even more costs for a program already struggling with a labor shortage.

The Washington Policy Center's Pam Lewison says revised versions of these bills that would fund the hiring of 14 new employees to oversee the program have NO indication of what those costs are ...

LEWISON ... "Farmers are going from the original proposed fee structure which was $1,000 per employer application, plus $100 per worker up to 1,000 employees, with an additional $50 per worker for every worker beyond 1,000, to a fee structure that is unknown."

Lewison says that's the problem ...

LEWISON ... "So, that poses a problem when you start looking at how you're going to account for your labor in a banking setting, but also just in your regular budgetary life."

So, skies the limit?

LEWISON ... "That's what it seems like. The bill reads that they'll go through an annual rule making process to set those fees on an annual basis."

Lewison says this state legislation tries addressing a federal budget shortfall ...

LEWISON ... "And that's where the next issue sort of comes from. These bills are proposing funding a federal program with state money. So, seems like there's a disconnect between how this program is being administered and how it's being funded."

Tune in tomorrow for more on these costly H-2A bills.

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