Frequently Asked Questions

H-2A Eligibility

What types of jobs qualify for the H-2A program?

If you work in agriculture and you have a seasonal labor shortage, you may be able to use the H-2A program to hire migrant workers from other countries. There are several requirements for this job.

  1. The job must be temporary, lasting less than one year.
  2. The duties of the job must be agricultural in nature, such as planting, harvesting, or caring for crops/livestock.
  3. An employer must be able to show the job was made available to domestic workers first. 

Employer Requirements Under H-2A

What are the requirements for the H-2A program?

Employers are responsible for several important activities under the H-2A program such as transportation from the workers’ home country, applications, domestic recruitment, and more. Employers must fulfill other requirements, such as adequate housing and meals, local transportation, tools and training, workers’ compensation insurance, and more.

Am I responsible for transportation to and from foreign countries?

Under the H-2A program, employers are responsible for foreign workers’ transportation, but the vast majority of employers work with a third party to coordinate transportation. Booking transport and accommodations while also coordinating visas and other legal requirements is a hassle for those without experience.

Am I responsible for providing housing for seasonal workers?

Under H-2A, employers are responsible for providing housing for seasonal workers. This housing must meet health and safety standards. There are many ways to meet this requirement. Some agricultural employers use nearby rental housing, others use accommodations they own on the property.

Am I responsible for providing meals for seasonal workers?

If your housing accommodations include a cooking area, you do not have to provide meals. If your accommodations do not include a cooking area, you must provide three meals a day. However, you may charge a reasonable fee for these meals.

Working with H-2A Seasonal Workers

Do I retain control of my workforce?

Yes. Within the regulations set by the Department of Labor and other agencies, you are in charge of work policies and requirements.

How will I communicate with my workforce?

Most H-2A workers come from Spanish-speaking countries, and many do not speak conversational English. Communicating with workers from another country can be a challenge. There are many resources available including translated important notices for posting, workplace regulatory compliance posters, and documents to assist you, as it is recommended to find a bilingual staff or consultant for training sessions.

Application and Processing Timelines

When should I file for H-2A?

The further in advance that you’re able to apply, the better. The minimum lead time needed to secure workers is 120 days. Ideally, 1 year of lead time would allow for the best rate of success.

Legal Review

What is the management review process?

While it is not required it is recommended that you go through a legal review. During the management review process, legal experts and labor consultants ensure that you are eligible for the program and that all the proper information is obtained about the work you require. This protects you from possible penalties and fines that can arise from not following regulations. They also review your operation to ensure you are meeting requirements under worker safety guidelines, or, if you are not, provide solutions for meeting these requirements.

What are my responsibilities during the management review?

During management review, employers are responsible for making sure that all staff who will be involved in the H-2A program (Including owners, HR personnel, payroll and managers) are on-site during the review. Employers are also responsible for providing samples of completed employment documents (I-9, W-4 and disclosures).

What will be reviewed?

The H-2A program includes a number of requirements that employers must fill, such as housing, local transportation, worker safety protocols, and requirements for the job itself. It also includes some restrictions on businesses that have recently been involved in worker strikes or layoffs. The management review ensures that your farm or orchard is eligible for the program. This step also ensures that you understand your requirements while you employ seasonal workers, and that you understand how to meet requirements that have not yet been met.