- American farmers have expressed their frustration at their government for placing a travel ban on South Africa
- The farmers rely on labour by South African farmworkers to assist them in their growing season
- They have implored President Joe Biden to exempt South African farmworkers from the travel ban
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WASHINGTON DC - US-based agricultural stakeholders have urged their government to provide South African farmworkers with an exemption from the travel restrictions placed on travellers from southern Africa.
The US has a growing demand for farmworkers from South Africa, with an estimated 7000 arriving annually. They use the H-2A guest worker visa programme, which was created to meet the labour shortage in the agricultural sector.
According to Business Insider, US farmers feel that the travel ban makes it difficult for them to plan their growing season, which starts next month. They expressed their views in a letter sent to President Joe Biden.
Possibility of the US lifting travel restrictions on SA
Earlier this month Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Biden, said that the US is considering possibly lifting some of the travel restrictions it has placed on people travelling from South Africa.
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Fauci cited the number of confirmed Omicron cases globally, which shows that the coronavirus can not be contained, Politico reports. He added that the Omicron cases so far have presented as milder than other variants.
“Thus far, though it's too early to really make any definitive statements about it, thus far, it does not look like there's a great degree of severity to it,” Fauci said.
Reactions to US farm workers' petition
"What about other work visas?"
"Any speculative guess as to when the US might lift the travel ban? It’s beginning to look very silly now."
"Us southern Africans would love to spend the holidays with family too. Please review the southern african travel ban."
"Because they want cheap labour."
UK asked by Dirco for compensation, South Africa off the red list
Earlier Briefly News reported that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has requested that the United Kingdom (UK) pay South Africa back for the financial damage the country has sustained due to the UK imposing a travel ban shortly after the Omicron variant was discovered.
In November South African scientists discovered the Omicron variant. After the discovery was announced, the UK implemented a travel ban on several southern African countries, including South Africa. Many other countries followed suit and also banned travel from the region.
Antony Phillipson, the British High Commissioner to South Africa, has stated that he recognises the damage caused by the UK placing a travel ban on South Africa.
Source: Briefly News