The H-2A program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific requirements to bring foreign nationals to the U.S. on a temporary agricultural visa to fill seasonal agricultural jobs. H-2A visas are valid for a maximum of one year. Extensions of up to one year are available in certain circumstances. To qualify for H-2A non-immigrant classification, the U.S. employer (agricultural company, association, farm labor contractor) must:
Offer a job that is of a temporary or seasonal nature;
Demonstrate that there is a shortage of available U.S. workers who are willing, able, and qualified to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural labor or services at the time and place needed;
Show that the employment of foreign national H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
The employer must obtain a single valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for these workers. The initial application to the local DOL must be submitted at least 60 days before the date of need. The labor certification application to the U.S. DOL must then be submitted at least 45 days before the date of need.
The employer then begins a recruitment process. Employers must advertise and make an offer of employment to any qualified U.S. workers and may only obtain H-2A visas for those jobs that remain unfilled after the recruitment process. In addition, the employer must hire any U.S. workers who apply for the job during the first half of the contract period. Any U.S. workers successfully referred must be subtracted from the total number of workers requested.
Following approval by the DOL, the employer must file a petition with USCIS for the H-2A status, and, upon approval, candidates then seek the H-2A visas at a consulate abroad.
If you are an employer interested in filing for H-2A status for agricultural workers, call or email Lisa Green & Associates, P.C. today for an initial consultation.