No more vaccinating H-2A employees after they arrive for work in the United States.

The federal Department of Homeland Security’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for incoming foreign travelers begins Jan. 22 and grants no exemption for H-2A workers, despite industry lobbying, according to the Northwest Horticultural Council, which represents the tree fruit industry at the federal policy level.

The horticultural council and other industry groups continue to communicate with congressional offices to seek exclusion for H-2A workers, or at least grant some flexibility to vaccinate workers once they reach their farms. Last year, many fruit production companies filled their labor needs by vaccinating their incoming H-2A employees within a few days of their arrival. 

For more information about the federal incoming traveler vaccine mandate, visit: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/10/29/frequently-asked-questions-guidance-travelers-enter-us.

by Ross Courtney