H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers
The H-2A temporary agricultural program establishes a means for agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services 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, such as a short annual growing cycle or a specific aspect of a longer cycle, and requires labor levels far above the necessary for ongoing operations. 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 1 year.
Before the USCIS can approve an employer’s petition for such workers, the employer must file an application with the Department stating that: (1) there are not sufficient able, willing, and qualified United States (U.S.) workers available to perform the temporary and seasonal agricultural employment for which an employer desires to import nonimmigrant foreign workers; and (2) employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The statute and Departmental regulations provide for numerous worker protections and employer requirements with respect to wages and working conditions that do not apply to nonagricultural programs. The Department of Labor has responsibility for enforcing provisions of worker contracts.