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A Quick Guide to the H-2A Visa Program

Chances are you’ve driven through the countryside and seen the corn, wheat, and other crops that are maturing throughout the summer. Of course, one farmer isn’t likely to harvest those crops on his own. In fact, many agricultural workers use the H-2A program to bring foreign nationals to the country to help them harvest crops and perform other agricultural tasks. Check out this quick guide to learn more about the program.

Qualification Requirements

H-2A classification is a non-immigrant classification, which means the petitioner must meet several requirements. The agricultural employer must offer a temporary or seasonal position and prove there are not enough workers in the United States who are willing to do the job. He or she must also prove that H-2A workers wont’ affect the wages of similarly employed people from the U.S.

The Three-Step Process

The process for the H-2A program is done in three steps. First, the petitioner must submit a temporary labor certification application at the United States Department of Labor. Once he or she receives the labor certification, the next step is to submit Form I-129 and include the original temporary certification with it. Finally, prospective workers can apply for their temporary visas either at an embassy or consulate abroad or at a U.S. port of entry.

Things to Keep in Mind

There are other things you should keep in mind regarding the H2A visa program. Visa holders may stay in periods of three months to one year, depending on the job. Workers who have spouses or unmarried children under 21 years old may bring families under the H-4 non-immigrant classification, but they cannot work. Finally, if a worker does not show up, is terminated, or finishes work early, the employer must report this to the proper authorities.

If you need workers and are unsure where to start, an H2A employment agency can help you begin the process of hiring people via the H-2A visa program.

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