DHS released a pre-publication copy of a Temporary Final Rule that would provide additional flexibility for H-2B employers that are part of the food supply chain and H-2B workers who are already in the country. The rule, which becomes effective on May 14 and remains in effect until September 11, 2020, is similar to an April 20 DHS temporary H-2A rule.
On April 20, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 national health emergency, DHS published a temporary final rule that allows H-2A petitioners with a valid TLC to employ H-2A workers who currently are in the United States and hold a valid H-2A visa to begin work for a new employers immediately after USCIS receives the H-2A petition filed by the new employer, but no earlier than the start date of employment listed on the H-2A petition. The rule also allows H-2A workers to extend their stay in the United States beyond the 3-year maximum allowable period.
The new temporary H-2B rule extends these same provisions to H-2B petitioners who are part of the food chain, including those involved in the processing, manufacturing, and packaging of human and animal food; transporting human and animal food from farms, or manufacturing or processing plants, to distributors and end sellers; and the selling of human and animal food through a variety of sellers or retail establishments, including restaurants. The rule also allows H-2B workers in these industries to extend their stay beyond the 3-year limit.
A pre-publication copy of the temporary rule can be found HERE. The official rule will be published in the Federal Register on May 14.
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