The H-2A visa program is a federal program designed for agricultural employers who are in need of reliable and consistent labor and are facing a shortage of available, willing, and qualified workers locally. The program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for temporary or seasonal agricultural work.
How the H-2A Visa Program Works
Before employers request to be classified as H-2A employers, they are required to apply for a temporary labor certification for H-2A workers through the U.S. Department of Labor. Once they have received this certification, the employer must file a petition for nonimmigrant worker (I-129) on behalf of each prospective employee. The third step of the H-2A visa program, after Form I-129 is approved, is for the prospective foreign workers to apply for an H-2A visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and then to seek admission into the United States at a U.S. port of entry. In some cases, an H-2A visa is not required for workers. In these scenarios, the prospective worker must directly seek admission to the U.S. in H-2A classification at a port of entry.
H-2A visa program workers may stay in the United States for up to the period of time allowed for by the temporary labor certification, though employers may extend the H-2A classification in increments of up to 1 year. This request for extension must be accompanied by a new temporary labor certification covering the requested amount of extra time. Workers may stay in the U.S. under the H-2A classification for a maximum of 3 years, and then must leave the country and remain outside of the U.S. for 3 months before seeking H-2A nonimmigrant classification once again.
In order to qualify for the H-2A classification, there are several things an employer must first do:
- The job you are offering must be temporary or seasonal by nature.
- You must establish that there is a shortage of available, willing, qualified, and able U.S. workers to fill the position you are offering.
- You must demonstrate that the employment of workers through the H-2A visa program will not result in a negative effect on the working conditions and wages of U.S. workers who are similarly employed.
- You must submit a U.S. Department of Labor temporary labor certification with the H-2A petition.
How We Can Help
Youngblood & Associates works to secure H-2A visas exclusively for the nursery, greenhouse, and hemp industries. Our team is highly experienced in business agriculture and committed to these industries, and Youngblood & Associates’ firm founder and H-2A visa attorney has in-depth knowledge of both the nursery and hemp business. Our commitment, knowledge, and experience means that we provide superior representation and support throughout the season.
Youngblood & Associates will:
- Provide a one-on-one legal consultation to determine your labor needs
- Work to secure visas for your requested foreign workers or recruit a workforce for you
- Be available to answer questions from your HR and payroll staff on requirements of the H-2A visa program
- Counsel your business in housing requirements for your employees
- Provide audit support
Why Youngblood & Associates?
Youngblood & Associates is exclusively an immigration law firm. We work with employers seeking labor solutions and with individuals and families seeking legal immigration services. Our team consistently provides green industry businesses with temporary workers through the H-2B and H-2A visa program and keeps our clients on track with all program requirements and filing deadlines. We assess each business individually, knowing that every case is unique and everyone company’s labor needs are different. We work with our clients to create a specific plan for their business and guide them through the H-2A visa program along the way.
Not sure what you need?
Call our office today at 931-274-7811 to schedule your FREE first consultation or complete a service inquiry form to get your process started today.