Worker Visas at the Border Pt 2

Worker Visas at the Border Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. In an effort to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus, the State Department has closed the borders to all but essential crossings.

But fortunately, according to WAFLA Director Dan Fazio, the State Department is making a few exceptions …

FAZIO … “So, the first thing they were able to do is say okay, everyone that’s on the border this week, right now, is going to be processed. So, we have people that are at the border, you know, that presented on the 16th and for processing on the 18th, they’re good to go. So, that was a good commitment to get right off the bat.”

A second commitment, Fazio says is much better …

FAZIO … “Any worker who had been here on an H-2A visa in the last 12-months, in other words, a returning worker, that had no problems with their visa. They had successfully interviewed, no problems, no hiccups, they went back at the end of the contract and there were no issues in the system on that worker, those people will be exempted right off the bat from this closure.”

Fazio says that takes care of about 80-to-90% of the needed workers …

FAZIO … “Now we’re working on the 10-to-20% of the new people and we’re trying to get an emergency procedure, protocol, for the State Department, for those 10-to-20% so that the workers, you know, are going to be safe and that the State Department people are going to be safe.”

Listen tomorrow for more on the impact coronavirus is having on farm labor and why the timing of the outbreak may help.

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