Food and Ag Industry: Know Your Visa Options and Immigration Strategies

This article was originally published January 21, 2020, and has been updated as of August 2022.

The food and agribusiness industry includes farms, restaurants and food manufacturing, processing and storage facilities. Companies within the food and agribusiness industry seek to employ talented professionals, such as research scientists, supply chain professionals, veterinarians and engineers, to bring food to the table in a changing world. With a focus on talent, food and agribusiness companies must understand the employment-based immigration factors that affect their U.S. workforces, as talented job candidates come from all over the world. Especially in periods of low unemployment, food and agribusiness companies need to be as competitive as possible in recruiting, hiring and retaining top-level talent.

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Workers Wanted: Proposed Legislation to Address Immigration Backlogs

Several bills have been recently proposed in Congress to address some of the challenges employers and employees face in terms of high-skilled immigration. Backlogs in the permanent residence (green card) process and difficulties procuring work visas for professional employees create significant stress and uncertainty for U.S. businesses in a competitive labor market.

One critical challenge is the significant backlog in the permanent residence process, which continues to grow. There are 140,000 immigrant visas available for employment-based applicants each year. However, these 140,000 visas are subject to a country cap that states no more than seven percent of the 140,000 available immigrant visas may go to immigrants from any one country. This cap does not consider the fact that demand from each country for employment-based visas is not equal. Largely because of the cap, individuals from countries for which demand for employment-based immigrant visas is higher — such as India and China — face extreme backlogs when seeking to become permanent residents in the U.S. These backlogs not only impact individuals and their families, but also impact their employers who are sponsoring them through the permanent residence process. There are currently over one million people affected by this backlog, putting strain on employers who must continue to sponsor and extend the temporary work authorization of individuals who cannot finalize their permanent residence processes due to the delays caused by the backlog.

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U.K. Update: Changes to Right to Work Checks

On 6 April 2022, the Home Office updated the codes of practice on preventing illegal working. All “Right to Work” (RTW) checks must now be conducted in conformity with the updated codes. Below is a summary of the methods of conducting the checks that are now available to employers conducting RTW checks.

RTW checks must be conducted for all prospective employees, irrespective of their nationality or immigration status. The checks must be conducted before employment commences in the U.K.

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UK Immigration: Understanding the New Scale-Up Visa

What is a Scale-Up visa?

The Scale-Up visa is a route which enables businesses in the U.K. to recruit talented foreign nationals who have the skills needed to allow the Scale-Up business to continue growing. One of the main benefits of the visa is its exemption from the Immigration Skills Charge. The Scale-Up visa is a route to settlement in the U.K.

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Immigration Update: U.S. Immigration Options for Ukrainian Nationals

In addition to the 3.2 million Ukrainians who have fled Ukraine, the United Nations reports that there are more than 6.5 million Ukrainians internally displaced within the country. The United States’ policies and practices with respect to inbound immigration options continue to evolve as the situation in Ukraine changes. Current inbound-U.S. immigration options include:

Options for Ukrainians Present in the United States

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