Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A

On October 12, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor (Department) published the final rule, “Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Nonimmigrants in the United States”, effective on November 14, 2022. This final rule amends the Department’s regulations governing the H-2A program to improve program protections for workers and enhance enforcement against fraud and abuse, while modernizing the H-2A application and temporary labor certification process. This final rule strengthens protections for U.S. workers and H-2A workers; enhances program integrity and enforcement capabilities of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification and the Wage and Hour Division; modernizes the prevailing wage determination process; and provides clarity to employers and other stakeholders.

 

Inflation Reduction Act Gives Tax Credit for Commercial Grade Mowers

The Inflation Reduction Act was signed by President Biden on Aug. 16, 2022, and this new law includes a tax credit for electric vehicles. Within the definition, large commercial grade lawn mowers are included.
The tax credit is 30 percent per vehicle/lawn mower, with a max of $7,500 per vehicle/lawn mower. The credit is available for sales made beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and the credit sunsets in 2032.

The interpretation of commercial mowers counting as mobile machinery was confirmed during a discussion on the Senate floor.

The parameters for these mowers must be less than 14,000 lbs. and have a battery capacity of not less than 7-kilowatt hours. This is significant because the parameters limit this tax credit to solely commercial-grade electric lawn mowers.

“To be able to get that credit per piece of machinery, I think, is a tremendous incentive to want to start to transition your fleet over to electric,” says Andrew Bray, VP of government affairs for the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

NALP, along with key equipment manufacturers, previously worked to have this language included in the Build Back Better legislation. When those efforts stalled, NALP continued to explore other options and had discussions with some offices about a play in the omnibus.

“When the Inflation Reduction Act came together quickly last week we were pleased to see this language intact,” Bray says. “I’d like to give specific credit to efforts of Stanley Black and Decker who helped secure Sen. Van Hollens remarks and also to John Deere for playing a critical role to include ‘mobile machinery.’ This was a great outcome for the landscape industry.”

The IRS will issue further guidance before tax filings for the 2023 year.

“It is still our mission to look for additional funding through tax credits at the federal level or rebates at the local and state level to also assist folks in making the transition with all of the electrical equipment including batteries, leaf blowers, all the other stuff,” Bray says. “That’s still a top priority. We’re not done yet, but this was a great first step.”

 

H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers

Information about H-2B, with live links to US Citizenship and Immigration Services

The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. A U.S. employer, or U.S. agent as described in the regulations, must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on a prospective worker’s behalf.

Alert: USCIS is no longer accepting petitions filed under the temporary final rule (PDF) increasing the FY 2018 numerical limit on H-2B nonimmigrant visas. USCIS will reject and return any petitions received after June 6, 2018 that were not selected in the lottery, as well as any cap-subject petitions. Petitions accepted for processing will have a receipt date of June 11, 2018. Premium processing service for these petitions begins on that receipt date. Only employers whose petitions were accepted will receive receipt notices.

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions with start dates for FY 2018 that are exempt from, or not counted towards, the congressionally mandated cap. USCIS will consider petitions requesting an employment start date on or after Oct. 1, 2018, towards the FY 2019 cap. These petitions will be subject to all eligibility requirements for FY 2019 H-2B cap filings.

See the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more information and answers to these questions and more:

Who May Qualify for H-2B Classification?

H-2B Cap

H-2B Program Process

Reporting H-2B Fraud

H-2B Eligible Countries List

Period of Stay