AgJOBS (H.R. 2414 – Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA28) & Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL12) 2009 & S. 1038 – Feinstein 2009), the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2009 or AgJ OBSof 2009, is a proposed immigration law. AgJOBS is a compromise that was reached after years of conflict and tough negotiations between the United Farm Workers (UFW), major agricultural employers, and key federal legislators.
AgJOBS provides relief for the current agriculture labor crisis.
Key Components of AgJOBS
Agricultural Worker Status: Provides immigration status for experienced farm workers who must continue to work in American agriculture for the next 5 years.
AGRICULTURAL PROGRAM CAPPED AT 1.35 MILLION WORKERS;
ELIGIBILITY LIMITED TO THOSE WHO CAN PROVE AGRICULTURAL EMPLOYMENT FOR AT LEAST 150 DAYS OR 863 HOURS IN U.S. AGRICULTURE DURING THE PAST 24 MONTHS;
AGRICULTURAL WORKERS MUST WORK AT LEAST 100 DAYS PER YEAR IN AGRICULTURE FOR THE NEXT 5 YEARS, OR 150 DAYS PER YEARS FOR THE NEXT 3 YEARS;
5 YEAR SUNSET.
H-2A Program: Streamlines the current H-2A program.
NO CAP ON H-2A VISAS;
APPLICATION PROCESS STREAMLINED SO THAT AN EMPLOYER’S REQUEST FOR H-2A WORKERS MOVES MORE QUICKLY THROUGH GOVERNMENT APPROVAL PROCESS;
THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR MUST PROCESS H-2A APPLICATIONS WITHIN 7 DAYS;
AN APPLICATION TO EXTEND A WORKER’S STAY OR CHANGE EMPLOYERS WILL BE APPROVED WHEN FILED;
WAGE STANDARD FROZEN AT THE 2008 LEVEL FOR 3 YEARS, AFTER WHICH TIME A NEW METHODOLOGY THAT BETTER REFLECTS THE ECONOMY TAKES EFFECT.
HOUSING REQUIREMENT CHANGED TO ALLOW AN EMPLOYER TO PROVIDE A HOUSING ALLOWANCE IF THERE IS ADEQUATE RENTAL HOUSING AVAILABLE;
TRANSPORTATION SUBSIDY REQUIREMENT CHANGED SO THAT EMPLOYERS NO LONGER HAVE TO PAY FOR DAILY COMMUTES OF LESS THAN 100 MILES OR FOR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION IF HOUSING IS NOT REQUIRED;
EMPLOYERS CAN PROVIDE A HOUSING VOUCHER IF STATE GOVERNMENT DETERMINES ADEQUATE HOUSING STOCK IN THE AREA OF EMPLOYMENT