| || |
Owens lauds new H-2A online application
December 14, 2012 - Chris Morris
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, says a new online application will reduce the paperwork burden for small family farms that rely on foreign guest workers.
Here's the press release from Owens' office:
Plattsburgh, N.Y. – On Monday, December 10th, the U.S. Department of Labor officially made electronic processing available online for farmers and other businesses filing H-2A and H-2B foreign labor certification applications. The hope is that online applications will reduce the paperwork burden on small businesses, particularly family farms like those in Upstate New York that rely on the H-2A visa program for seasonal farm labor.
Congressman Owens applauded the effort, noting that this marked a positive step forward despite the need for larger, overall farm labor reforms.
“I believe that broad farm labor reforms are required to provide farmers the assistance they need to grow their operations, but I am encouraged the Department of Labor is taking steps to improve the program,” said Owens.
Earlier this year, Congressman Owens met with Labor Department leadership to discuss some of the Congressman’s concerns with the H-2A program. As part of this discussion, the issue of electronic filing in the H-2A program was raised, and Congressman Owens urged the Department to implement this idea as quickly as possible.
Congressman Owens has long supported broad attempts to improve farm labor programs for farmers in New York, in particular for specialty crop producers who rely on seasonal labor to get their product to market.
Earlier this year, Congressman Owens introduced the “Family Farm Relief Act,” H.R. 6373, in coordination with a bipartisan group of New York Congressmen. The bill is intended to improve the H-2A visa program used by family farms in New York State, and would transfer oversight of the current H-2A farm worker program from the Department of Labor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The bill would also make a series of reforms to improve the program for producers that rely on it for farm labor.
“I urge local farmers who utilize the H-2A program to try electronic filing and share their thoughts on the new system with my office so we can determine whether any changes or improvements are required,” Owens said.
Congressman Owens is a Member of the House Committee on Agriculture. Additional information on the electronic filing system can be found here.
No comments posted for this article.
Post a Comment
News, Blogs & Events Web