The H2A visa program allows U.S. agricultural employers with a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services. The work must be of a temporary or seasonal nature.
Employment is of a seasonal nature where it is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern. Employment is of a temporary nature where the employer’s need to fill the position with a temporary worker will, except in extraordinary circumstances, last no longer than one year.
Any employer who has been certified for H-2A jobs must have initially attempted to find U.S. workers to fill these slots. Even after agricultural visa workers are recruited, employers must continue to engage in “positive recruitment” of U.S. workers.
In order to petition for H2A workers, the employer must file a Temporary Labor Certification Application stating that:
(1) There are not sufficient able, willing, and qualified U.S. workers available to perform the temporary and seasonal agricultural employment; and
(2) Employment of H-2A visa workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
Once the Labor Certification Application is approved, the employer must file a petition with USCIS. After an employer’s petition is approved by USCIS, H-2A workers who are outside the United States may apply with the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad for an H-2A visa.
H2A Visa Period of Stay
Generally, H-2A classification is granted for the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification (usually no longer than one year). Extensions may be available, but the maximum stay is three years.
Anyone who has held H-2A visa status for three years is required to depart and remain outside the United States for an uninterrupted period of three months before seeking readmission as an H-2A nonimmigrant.
The H2A visa application process is often complex and confusing. Allow us to navigate the process for you by scheduling a consultation today.