The U.S. State Department issued a clarification on its ban on non-citizens entering the United States from South Africa. A Biden administration proclamation suspended travel from several countries due to COVID-19 concerns. The State Department clarified that agriculture workers entering the U.S. qualify for the national interest exception on a case-by-case basis.
The American Farm Bureau recently sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week requesting an exemption for South African farm labor.
“We appreciate the swift action by the State Department to address a critical need for American agriculture,” said AFB President Zippy Duvall. “Farmworkers from South Africa bring a valuable and unique skill set to the farms where they work. America’s farmers rely on the H-2A program to provide a robust workforce, and we are committed to ensuring their safety while continuing to provide healthy, affordable food for American families.”
President Biden’s proclamation allows non-citizens to be exempt from the ban if their arrival is in the national interest. Food and agriculture workers have been deemed essential during COVID-19.