The H-2A visa program began in 1952. Ever since it has become an important aspect of agriculture in the United States.
What is the H-2A Visa Program?
The H-2A agricultural scheme was designed to aid employers in the United States. When a company anticipates a lack of domestic workers to meet their workload, H-2A visas can help. Using the program, employers can bring foreign workers into the United States. They can then perform agricultural work such as planting, cultivating, or harvesting.
Temporary or seasonal foreign workers can legally work in the United States with an H-2A visa. This work can be done on various agricultural facilities, including farms, plantations, ranches, orchards, and nurseries.
Both seasonal and temporary work are included under the H-2A visa. Seasonal work is typically tied to a specific time of year where businesses need extra employees to keep up with demand. On the other hand, temporary work can last up to a year.
H-2A Visa Regulations for Employers
There is no limit to the number of H-2A visas approved annually. However, some regulations apply to the application process. Any US farm owner can apply for H-2A visas when they have insufficient domestic employees. However, some criteria need to be met to allow this.
Any roles they want to fill must be temporary or seasonal agricultural work. Additionally, they need to demonstrate that they cannot find US citizens to take on the role. Agricultural companies also need to verify that hiring foreign employees will not negatively impact American citizens. This applies to both working conditions and wages in the sector. You can find out more about H-2A visa regulations for companies here.
H-2A Visa Regulations for Employees
Employees also need to meet certain conditions to be eligible for the visa. For example, they need to have received a job offer from a US employer offering temporary or seasonal work. This work must also be agricultural in nature. They must prove their intention to leave the country upon completion of the work.
There are certain restrictions about where employees can come from under an H-2A visa. Not all farm workers from all countries can move to the US. Therefore, employees must confirm that they are from a nation approved under the H-2A program.
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