H-2A workers will once again be permitted to occupy farmworker housing funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Section 514 loans, thanks to an amendment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 sponsored by U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA).
The so-called section 514 loans are administered by USDA on behalf of employers that wish to build or improve farmworker housing. However, such housing had heretofore been limited to U.S. citizen and permanent resident use only. Pursuant to new guidelines issued by the USDA, H-2A visas holders may now use the housing.
“Finding suitable housing for temporary agriculture workers has always been a challenge faced by our farmers and producers,” Secretary Perdue said in a statement issued Tuesday. “The seasonal workers coming to the United States do tremendous work for American agriculture. I am pleased that USDA programs can now better assist farmers needing to provide housing while they’re here. I thank Congress for addressing this issue in its most recent funding bill and hope to continue the conversation on farm labor for our agriculture industry.”
Western Growers applauds the efforts of Rep. Newhouse and the USDA to restore availability of section 514 housing for H-2A use.