The proposed reforms to immigration laws could assist agricultural workers to remain permanently in the United States and result in the creation of new visas that would be of great benefit to horse and dairy farms that do not rely on seasonal help.
CNN claims that agricultural workers that are currently living in the United States illegally would be able to put in an application for US visas known as the “blue card” if they have been working in the agricultural industry in the United States for a minimum of 100 days in the two years prior to December 31st of last year. Farm workers who are able to display documentation of reputable work histories during that time will be eligible to gain residency all year long under the new system, even if their entry to the United States was illegal.
To be able to put in a successful application for these visas, farmers also have to pay a fee of $400, demonstrate proof of tax payments and have no criminal record. There will be as many as 112,000 blue cards distributed in the first five years, with workers able to be granted legal residency in just five as opposed to ten years.
The proposed overhaul of the immigration system could also see the creation of a program that offers year-round US visas to non-immigrant workers in the agricultural industry for up to three years, and that would then be renewable for another three.