U.S. and Guatemala Sign Agreement to Improve H-2A ProgramAugust 2, 2019
The U.S. Department of Labor has signed a bi-lateral cooperative agreement with Guatemala to improve transparency, accountability, and worker safety in the H-2A visa program for agricultural workers from Guatemala.
With the agreement, a news release said the Guatemalan government will provide additional safeguards for temporary workers by certifying that labor recruiters are vetted and registered with their government.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the agreement will benefit farmers.
“This move by the United States and Guatemala will allow for greater cooperation and will safeguard against disturbances in the H-2A visa program by protecting workers from illegal recruitment activity, providing our farmers with a stable, legal workforce,” Perdue said in a statement. “President Trump is dedicated to securing our borders while continuing to support America’s farmers and ranchers. The signing of this agreement with Guatemala further solidifies our partnership and engagement with our neighbors and commitment to solving the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.”
According to the Department of Labor, the agreement is intended to complement existing U.S. laws and strengthen the protections for U.S. workers as well as prospective Guatemalan H-2A workers. The release said the agreement will ensure Guatemalan H-2A workers are less susceptible to criminal actors and are not charged excessive fees as part of the H-2A nonimmigrant visa program.
The release said the safeguards will assist U.S. employers who utilize the H-2A nonimmigrant visa program to seek workers from Guatemala by providing additional transparency and accountability concerning foreign labor recruiters’ compliance with U.S. and Guatemalan law.
All H-2A nonimmigrant workers are vetted by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State prior to entering the U.S.
By The Packer