Farm bill could extend visas

By Anthony Procopio Ross, Northwest Missourian

farmbill_nwmissourianA new bill announced in early January would allow foreign workers with appropriate visas to do farming work in the United States for spans of three years.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Chris Collins introduced this bill, named the Family Farm Relief Act of 2017.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our North Country economy and I am pleased to introduce this important bill to address the labor shortages facing our farmers,” Stefanik said in a press release.

The H-2A visa is a temporary work visa for foreign agricultural workers, with a job offer for seasonal agricultural work in the U.S., according to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services website. The H-2A visa program is open to foreign workers that the United States Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate, and is revised annually.

If adapted into law, farmers would no longer have to advertise to local workers before applying for international visas. Changes would allow farmers to extend their employment reach by not striking requirements to hire any qualified American who applies through the first half of the work period and having to offer jobs to previously employed immigrant workers. Read more …