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Business Briefing / Labor

Bush-era rule on farmworkers is put on hold

May 30, 2009|From Times Wire Services

The Labor Department suspended a regulation adopted shortly before President George W. Bush left office that would have made it easier for farmers to bring in foreign workers.

Many immigration and labor advocacy groups had opposed the new rule for lowering wages and eliminating some protections for temporary farmworkers. But farm owners supported the Bush administration changes, saying they eliminated red tape that made it harder to bring in foreign workers to help harvest crops.

The rule affects the H-2A guest worker program, which lets employers hire foreign workers if they can't first find American workers. The new regulation took effect on Jan. 17, just days before President Obama was sworn into office.

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