Foreign farm worker visas backlogged following government shutdo


Foreign farm worker visas backlogged following government shutdown

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YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) – The government shutdown might be over but it's effects could linger for quite some time.

Here at home, the winter harvest season is in jeopardy because the shutdown backed up the application process for visas for foreign farm workers.

Unless the government can put a rush on processing thousands of work visas currently on backlog, Yuma and Imperial County farmers could be in serious financial trouble if there aren't enough migrant farm workers to pick the area's $3 billion winter harvest crops.

According to Jason Resnick with the Western Growers Association, there are more than 3,000 applications that still need to be approved.

This comes just weeks before the winter harvest season begins.

Usually, the application process for an H2A Visa takes about six weeks.

They have to be approved by four different federal and state agencies.

However, the 16-day government shutdown will nearly double the time for applications to get approved.

Resnick said there are not enough workers in the United States to harvest the crops so if the visas are not approved, crops will go bad, supply will be low and prices for vegetables will skyrocket.

Resnick also says Arizona and California congressional leaders have sent letters to the federal government asking to expedite the application process.

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