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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Subcommittee Hearing on Workforce Challenges Facing the Agriculture Industry

On Tuesday, September 13 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), will hold a hearing entitled, “Workforce Challenges Facing the Agriculture Industry.” The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Each year, agriculture employers petition for thousands of seasonal guest workers through the H-2A visa program. Before receiving authorization to hire H-2A workers, employers must demonstrate there are insufficient U.S. workers available to perform the work as needed and that the use of guest workers will not adversely affect U.S. workers. The Department of Labor certifies an employer’s H-2A petition and employers may appeal to an Administrative Law Judge in the event the department denies the petition.

In March 2010, the Obama administration implemented a series of regulatory changes to the H-2A visa program. Through the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, disapprovals of employer petitions have risen and the number of appeals increased from 158 in fiscal year 2010 to an estimated 700 for fiscal year 2011. Employers have voiced concern that the department’s administrative efforts may be undermining the success of the visa program.

Tuesday’s hearing will provide members an opportunity to discuss the importance of maintaining an efficient and effective H-2A visa program, as well as examine enforcement of the program under the Obama administration and its impact on employers. To learn more about this hearing, visit


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Panel I
The Honorable Jane Oates
Assistant Secretary
Employment and Training Administration
United States Department of Labor
Washington, D.C.

Panel II
Joe Bailey
Director of Human Resources
Bailey Nurseries, Inc.
St. Paul, MN

The Honorable Leon Sequeira
Senior Counsel
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Washington, D.C.

Libby Whitley
Lovingston, VA

Bruce Goldstein
Executive Director
Farmworker Justice
Washington, D.C.

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