H-2A and COVID-19

We are committed to delivering USDA services to America’s farmers and ranchers while taking safety measures in response to the COVID-19, or new coronavirus, outbreak. We will continue to share resources related to COVID-19 and the H-2A Visa Program on this page.

Updates

Travel Guidance

  • International travelers, including H-2A holders, must provide proof of a negative test to airlines prior to departure as well as self-quarantine for 7 days on arrival, in accordance with CDC guidance.
  • The Federal government has put a number of stronger travel measures in place including:
    • Mandatory masking on airplanes and other public conveyance and in transportation hubs.
    • Proof of a negative test before travel into the U.S.
    • Self-quarantine upon arrival.
    • Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home for 7 days after travel.
      • Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.
      • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel.
    • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

How will USG enforce quarantine?

  • CDC will work closely with state/local public health authorities on to ensure compliance.
  • We have stronger travel safety measures in place than ever before and we will continue to listen to public health experts on additional measures that need to be put in place

H-2A and the Paycheck Protection Program

From the FAQs on the Department of the Treasury’s website:

  • Question 32: Does the cost of a housing stipend or allowance provided to an employee as part of compensation count toward payroll costs? Answer: Yes. Payroll costs includes all cash compensation paid to employees, subject to the $100,000 annual compensation per employee limitation.

  • Question 33: Is there existing guidance to help PPP applicants and lenders determine whether an individual employee’s principal place of residence is in the United States? Answer: PPP applicants and lenders may consider IRS regulations (26 CFR § 1.121- 1(b)(2)) when determining whether an individual employee’s principal place of residence is in the United States.

  • Question 34: Are agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers eligible for PPP loans? Answer: Yes. Agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers are eligible for PPP loans if: (i) the business has 500 or fewer employees, or (ii) the business fits within the revenue-based sized standard, which is average annual receipts of $1 million. Additionally, agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers can qualify for PPP loans as a small business concern if their business meets SBA’s “alternative size standard.” The “alternative size standard” is currently: (1) maximum net worth of the business is not more than $15 million, and (2) the average net income after Federal income taxes (excluding any carry-over losses) of the business for the two full fiscal years before the date of the application is not more than $5 million. For all of these criteria, the applicant must include its affiliates in its calculations. Link to Applicable Affiliation Rules for the PPP.

  • Question 35: Are agricultural and other forms of cooperatives eligible to receive PPP loans? Answer: As long as other PPP eligibility requirements are met, small agricultural cooperatives and other cooperatives may receive PPP loans.

More information on the program is available at treasury.gov

Department of Labor and USCIS Updates

 

For more information on USDA and the Coronavirus, visit USDA's main Coronavirus page