The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) said it is pleased that the Labor Department is proposing to improve and streamline the H-2A program. The official publication of the proposal is expected to occur sometime this week, which will start the clock on a 60-day period for public comment.
“Apple growers are increasingly reliant on the H-2A guestworker program to grow and harvest their crops,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair. “Labor is a grower’s largest expense, but the current program is bureaucratic, expensive and cumbersome. The proposed modernization will streamline the application process, saving time and cutting administrative costs.”
The nearly 500-page proposal is the result of nearly two years of information gathering and discussions amongst administration officials and stakeholders, including USApple and other ag industries dependent on hand labor.
“USApple strongly supports this effort and appreciates the opportunities we have had to discuss challenges with the program and offer suggestions for improvements,” continued Bair. “We will be providing our feedback and commend the Trump Administration for this initiative.”