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By Dona Maria Avanzado April 24th, 2013
The Senate immigration reform bill would grant the agricultural workers a new status and those workers would be granted Blue Cards. Agricultural industries in the United States are in short of workers and many employers hire undocumented immigrants as they are unable to find legal workers and many Americans are not willing to take up jobs in agricultural industries. This makes the farmers to hire undocumented immigrants and such workers are also willing to work for less wages.
The senators want to solve such problems and so they have established the Blue Card status and this status would solve the problems in the agricultural industry. If the Senate bill is passed, the US employers would be permitted to hire foreign workers and the process of hiring foreign workers would be made simple and the bill would also permit the undocumented workers to apply for legal status. According to the Senate immigration bill, Blue Card status would allow the undocumented foreign workers to adjust their status to permanent resident status and obtain Green Cards, after five years.
To obtain Blue Card status, undocumented workers must prove that they have performed agricultural work for around 100 days within a two year period, before 31st December, 2012. Likewise, while applying for Blue Card status, undocumented workers will have to pay $100. These Blue Cards will be valid for a three year period and these cards can be renewed for another three years. Moreover, Blue Card holders can work anywhere in the United States and for all the designated agricultural employers.
The bill would also benefit the immediate relatives of the Blue Card holders and the children and the spouses of Blue Card holders also would be permitted to apply for lawful status in America. However, they may not be permitted to work until they become eligible for Blue Card status. The bill would require the US employers to pay the foreign workers minimum wages or higher than what they generally pay. Likewise, the registered US employers who hire workers who hold Blue Cards must provide the workers housing allowance or housing. Moreover, the US employers must treat the US workers and the non-immigrant workers equally and equal wages and benefits must be provided. Currently, H2-A visas are being issued to the low skilled foreign workers and this visa program is not effective and so the Senate immigration reform bill would replace the H2-A program with the new Blue Card program.