The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has proposed increasing foreign worker application fees, in some cases more than doubling them.
The proposed increases would include a hike to the cost of I-129 forms, required to request H-2A work visas from a U.S. consulate, extend worker contracts and transfer workers to other contracts. The requested rule change also would add a $600 “asylum program fee.”
If enacted, the price for one I-129 form would go from $460 to $1,090, in one example, plus the $600 asylum fee, for a total of $1,690 , according to a chart in the Federal Register. The Homeland Security Department also proposes capping the number of workers on each form at 25. The rules currently have no cap.
The government agency cites higher demand, increased processing times and a need for more employees. The most recent fee increase was in 2016.
Wafla, the Lacey, Washington, farm employer organization, opposes the fee increases and suggests employers do the same through public comment, open until March 6. To read the proposed rule change and submit comments, visit: bit.ly/h-2a-fee-proposal.
—by Ross Courtney