Employers in the food supply industry in Ohio often rely on workers from other countries to enter the U.S. to work for them, and people from outside the U.S. often rely on the money made working in the food supply industry to support themselves and their families. In general, in order for a person from another country to come to the U.S. temporarily to work their employer needs to petition them for a H-2B nonimmigrant visa.

New temporary rule affects those in the food supply industry

However, specifically with regards to the food supply industry, a new temporary rule has been finalized wherein an H-2B petitioner who has an approved temporarily labor certification can bring in H-2B workers who are currently present in the U.S. for jobs considered essential to the nation’s food supply change as soon as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services receives the H-2B petition and attestation, but not before the employment start date on the petition. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security is temporarily permitting certain H-2B workers to remain in the country for more than the three-year maximum period under current law.

To qualify for this change in regulatory requirements, the H-2B worker needs to be present in the U.S. with a valid H-2B status on or after March 1, 2020. In addition to the petition, the employer needs to submit a Form ATT-H2B, making an oath on penalty of perjury that the H-2B worker will temporarily work in nonagricultural jobs that are essential  to the nation’s food supply chain. Some of these jobs include:

  • Processing, manufacturing and packaging food for people or animals;
  • Transporting food from farms or plants to distributors and retailers;
  • Selling food through retail establishments, such as at restaurants

Seeking help with an H-2B visa for a food industry worker

This list is not all-inclusive, but it shows how employers in the service industry have a unique opportunity to bring in workers from other countries, and the expanded opportunities people from other countries have to come to the U.S. to work in the service industry. Immigration law attorneys in the Columbus area and across Ohio can help workers and employers in the service industry learn more about this temporary rule change.