H-2A visas permit individuals from over sixty countries to live and perform agricultural work on a temporary or seasonal basis in the United States.
If you are interested in utilizing an H-2A to hire temporary agricultural workers, contact Tucker, Nong and Associates. Our experience H-2A visa lawyers will be able to process your needs quickly so that you do not waste time or money.
Who Qualifies for the H-2A Visa?
There are about 30,000 temporary agricultural workers who obtain this visa every year. These workers are supposed to be treated under the same wage laws like regular United States citizens or residents. Below is some basic information about the application process, validity, eligibility, employer notifications and bringing family members associated with this type of visa.
H-2A Visa Application
Employers must submit an H-2A temporary labor petition to the U.S. Department of labor (DOL). After receiving a temporary labor certification from the DOL, employers would need to submit an I-129 form to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After the USCIS approves their I-129 application, the worker would need to apply for an H-2 visa from the U.S. Department of State at an American Embassy or consulate abroad or directly seek a CBP at a U.S. port of entry if the worker does not need a visa to enter the country.
At first, an H-2A visa is valid for as long as a temporary labor certification remains in effect. However, most of these visas are valid for periods of up to one year. Any additional time added to this period must be requested with a valid temporary labor certification. Although time increases for H-2A workers are available, an H-2A visa may be granted for maximum of three years. While individuals may re-apply for this type of visa after three years, they are required to exit from the U.S. for a period of at least three months. After this time has passed, individuals may seek readmission under H-2A visa.
To qualify for an H-2A nonimmigrant classification, workers must meet certain specifications. The most important is that the worker has a job offer that is either a temporary or seasonal position. The work area must also have a shortage of U.S. workers who are willing, qualified or available for the job. The employment offer must also not negatively affect wages or working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Most H-2A petitions must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor; however, there are some exceptions under certain circumstances.
H-2A employers are required to notify the USCIS within two workdays if certain circumstances occur. This includes if the worker fails to report to work within five workdays or if the worker leaves without notifying the employer. Additionally, if the worker is terminated prior to the completion of labor date listed on a H-2A application, the petitioner would be required to notify the USCIS. Finally, if a worker finishes labor more than 30 days prior to the completion date specified on the H-2A petition, the employer would also need to notify the USCIS.
Spouses and Unmarried Children
H-2A workers are permitted to bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 in certain situations. Spouses and children of these workers must apply for an H-4 nonimmigrant visa. Individuals with an H-4 status visa are not eligible to work in the U.S.
How we can help you
An H-2A visa is a great way to legally hire workers for needed services. If you are interested in obtaining an H-2A visa, or are an employer looking to hire workers using H-2A visas, call Tucker, Nong and Associates or contact us online.
Our licensed H-2A visa lawyers can help you get your operations moving by properly filing your visa needs. Contact us today to hear how we can help you reach your goals.