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Temporary Agricultural Labor: H-2A Workers

The H-2A visa program is a federal program designed for agricultural employers who are in need of reliable and consistent labor and are facing a shortage of available, willing, and qualified workers locally. The program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for temporary or seasonal agricultural work.

How to Employ H-2A Workers

Before employers request to be classified as H-2A employers, they are required to apply for a temporary labor certification for H-2A workers through the U.S. Department of Labor. Once they have received this certification, the employer must file a petition for nonimmigrant worker (I-129) on behalf of each prospective employee. The third step, after Form I-129 is approved, is for the prospective foreign workers to apply for an H-2A visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and then to seek admission into the United States at a U.S. port of entry. In some cases, an H-2A visa is not required for workers. In these scenarios, the prospective H-2A workers must directly seek admission to the U.S. in H-2A classification at a port of entry.

H-2A workers may stay in the United States for up to the period of time allowed for by the temporary labor certification, though employers may extend the H-2A classification in increments of up to 1 year. This request for extension must be accompanied by a new temporary labor certification covering the requested amount of extra time. H-2A workers may stay in the U.S. under the H-2A classification for a maximum of 3 years, and then must leave the country and remain outside of the U.S. for 3 months before seeking H-2A nonimmigrant classification once again.

H-2A Visa Program Requirements

In order to qualify for the H-2A classification, there are several things an employer must first do:

  1. The job you are offering must be temporary or seasonal by nature.

  2. You must establish that there is a shortage of available, willing, qualified, and able U.S. workers to fill the position you are offering.

  3. You must demonstrate that the employment of H-2A workers through the program will not result in a negative effect on the working conditions and wages of U.S. workers who are similarly employed.

  4. You must submit a U.S. Department of Labor temporary labor certification with the H-2A petition.

How We Can Help

Youngblood & Associates works to secure H-2A workers exclusively for the nursery, greenhouse, and hemp industries. Our team is highly experienced in business agriculture and committed to these industries with in-depth knowledge of both the nursery and hemp business. Our commitment, knowledge, and experience means that we provide superior representation and support throughout the season. We  will:

  • Provide 1-on-1 legal consultation to determine labor needs

  • Work to secure visas for your requested H-2A workers or recruit a workforce for you

  • Be available to answer questions from your HR and payroll staff on requirements of the H-2A visa program

  • Counsel your business in housing requirements for your employees

  • Provide audit support

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