The US State Department says that it will make exceptions to its recent travel ban on high-risk Covid countries like South Africa, for workers who meet critical skill requirements for the country’s agriculture sector. Specifically, the exemption will be made for those taking part in the H-2 visa program, which the department said is essential to the US economy and food security. The H-2 visas permit US employers to hire foreign workers to come to the United States temporarily and perform agricultural or non-agricultural services due to an expected shortage of domestic labour. Proclamation – ie, the Covid-19 travel ban, in which South Africa was specifically named – who are necessary to ensure food supply chains, will be considered for exception. The Department said that applicants who are applying for a visa will be considered for an exception at the time of interview. While a number of temporary jobs are available through the visa program, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said that it specifically sent a letter to Secretary of State and Homeland Security requesting an exemption for South African farm labour. The ban prevents most non-US citizens from entry if they have recently been in South Africa, due to the new variant of Covid-19 which has been identified in the country.
SOURCE: BUSINESS TECH