Understanding the H2A Visa Requirements for Agricultural Workers

If you have an agricultural company with a shortage of agricultural workers from the U.S., you may qualify for an H2A Visa that allows non-U.S. workers to work for you.

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If you want nonimmigrant agricultural workers, you must meet the following requirements.

The Requirements

You must be able to prove that there is a shortage of U.S. workers for the work you need and that the work is temporary and/or seasonal. In addition, you must prove:

  • You must prove that you tried recruiting U.S. workers through normal means, such as newspaper or radio advertisements
  • The pay rate must be the same for either U.S. or non-U.S. workers
  • There must be adequate housing available for workers that will not be within a reasonable distance to commute to their own home
  • You must provide meals or the facilities to create their own meals (3 a day)
  • You must provide reimbursement for the cost of the worker’s transportation once he or she completes 50 percent of the assigned work
  • If the worker resides in free housing provided by you, transportation must also be provided
  • You must provide workmen’s compensation insurance
  • You must provide all tools necessary to complete the work

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In order to qualify, you must file an application with the Department of Labor stating that you cannot find enough U.S.-based employees to complete the job.

The Cost of the H2A Visa

The H2A Visa has costs associated with it that employers must cover including:

  • $100 application fee
  • $460 filing fee
  • $190 per worker consulate fee
  • $6 border stamp fee
  • $100 per worker agent fee
  • $400 – $600 transportation fee

You may be able to ask the employee for reimbursement of the transportation fees after 50 percent of the job is complete, but it varies by location.

The H2A Visa can help you get your agricultural work done when there is a shortage of U.S. workers, but you must use caution when doing so. Make sure you get in touch with the Department of Labor to ensure that you are doing everything correctly in order to ensure that you meet all laws and guidelines for your agricultural work.

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