H-2A Visas

H-2A visas allow U.S. employers in the agricultural sector to employ seasonal workers from other countries. While the workers benefit from being able to enter the country to earn a living, it’s the employers who are responsible for applying to the H-2A program by submitting visa applications to the various agencies, including the Department of Labor and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services’ Employment and Training Administration.
Understanding the H-2A visa requirements and how the application process works can help you ensure that your agricultural operation is adequately staffed during busy times..

Regulatory Requirements

Employer applicants must state that all of the following are true.

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    In addition, employers must agree to pay H-2A workers special rates, which vary by locality. They must provide the foreign workers with housing and transportation to and from the job site if they will be required to be away from their residence overnight. The H-2A workers must also be guaranteed an offer of employment for at least 75% of the work period specified in their contract. And, importantly, the H-2A visa program requires that employers do most of the paperwork involved in securing the H-2A visas for workers.

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    Application Process

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency responsible for processing and approving applications for H-2A visas. Before USCIS approves an employer’s petition, that employer must first file an application with the Department of Employment and Training Administration.
    The process for employers has three main steps:
    The employer regulations do not end once workers have arrived in the U.S. ready to work. The H-2A visa program also requires that employers maintain detailed employment records, ensure that the information they certified remains true, and follow all laws affecting seasonal agricultural workers.

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