What You Should Know Before Using the H-2A Program

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What You Should Know Before Using the H-2A Program

photo of crop land during the daytime

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) permits agricultural employers to recruit farm labor on a temporary or seasonal basis with the H-2A visa program for farmworkers. There are, however, some contractual obligations you should know about before applying for the H-2A program.


Recruitment of U.S. Workers

To acquire certification for the H-2A program from the Department of Labor, you first need to demonstrate the number of employees you need for your firm. The employers need to assure them that the seasonal Farm labor recruitment won’t affect the working conditions of the existing farmworkers.

Employers need to offer employment to the local applicants if they meet the job requirements.


Employee Termination

If an employer has fired the local farmworkers within 60 days of their application for the H-2A program, their application will not be accepted. If, however, you offer the job to U.S. workers first and they reject the job offer, then you may get certified for recruiting foreign applicants.

In addition, employers are only allowed to reject applications from locals for lawful and professional reasons. If an employer wants to terminate an employee or they willingly leave the position, they need to notify the Department of Labor (DOL).

Similarly, if they decide to terminate an H-2A worker, they’ll have to inform the Department of Homeland Security.


Pay Rates

The employer needs to offer a wage that’s equal to or more than the average effect wage rate (AEWR) when it’s the highest applicable wage rate among the wage sources pertaining to the employer’s employment offer.

You can calculate the worker’s salary on an hourly basis. If you’re paying by piece-rate, then make sure that it’s competitive to the rate offered by other farmers for the job in your area. Similarly, if you decide to pay wages on a pay period basis, then it should be equal to or more than the highest required hourly wage rate in effect when the work is performed.


Housing and Meals

a housing facility near a crop field

Employers are required to provide free or subsidized housing to the H-2A workers. The housing facility should comply with OSHA guidelines.

If, however, an employer decides to accommodate the workers in rental homes or apartments, they’ll be accountable for the payment of housing charges.

Besides, employers are also responsible for providing three meals to all the farmworkers every day at the cost specified by the Department of Labor. You can also provide the employees with no-cost kitchen facilities instead.



Employers are also required to provide no-cost transportation facilities to the farmworkers for their conveyance from their living quarters to the jobsite. The transportation facility should be insured and meet the safety standards.


Other Obligations

There’re numerous other obligations such as inbound and outbound expenses, work contracts, and job security policies.

If you want to hire employers with an H2A program, these conditions may seem daunting at first, but this isn’t the case.

At Farm Aid H-2A LLC, we can help you in labor recruitment for farms at affordable rates. Our farm labor visa agents work with the Department of labor to stay updated with the latest recruitment policies and requirements. We can help you meet the H-2A program requirements without a hassle and handle the paperwork to save your time.

Contact us to learn more about our H-2Aplacement services.


Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only. It shouldn’t be used as a substitute for legal consultation.

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