The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) established lawful admission of temporary non-immigrant workers to fill agricultural labor gaps or services of a temporary or seasonal nature under the H-2a visa program. The H-2A visa program has several design requirements that employers must meet before hiring temporary workers from other countries. However, these requirements are not straightforward, and if you are not familiar with the system and its procedure, you will feel overwhelmed. But this should not be an obstacle, adan vega attorney Houston has an in-depth knowledge of these requirements, how to fulfill them, and how to simultaneously document the process in an organized and cost-effective manner.
What are Employer Requirements For H-2A Visa?
The intention behind the H-2A visa program is to assist U.S. farmers and other agricultural businesses fill seasonal labor by employing workers from other countries, but without affecting the U.S. workers law. Employers that wish to hire foreign workers for temporary agricultural, work or services of seasonal nature have to abide by these steps;
- Submit a petition to USCIS
- Meet DOL requirements
- Get certification from the Department of Labor(DOL)
Once all these processes are approved respectively by their agencies, employers can start with the H-2A visa. Otherwise, they can not get the H-2A visa, and the employee will not enter the United States if the certification and petition got denied. Speak with abogados de migracion en houston tx for you H2 visa.
Certification From DOL
Your journey of hiring foreign workers for agricultural purposes starts here. Employers that wish to employ foreign workers under the H-2A visa program must first get certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. You can do so by filling and submitting the following forms;
- ETA-790 form – Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance(Job offer)
- ETA-9142A form – Foreign Labor Certification
The form ETA-790 is a petition to the State Workforce Agency, where the work is posted between 60 to 75 days before the employer needs the agricultural workers. Form ETA-790, together with the ETA-9142A, is then filed to the Houston National Processing Center(NPC) after 40 to 45days before there will be the need for employees.
These forms are so that DOL can verify why the U.S. employer wants to hire a foreign worker. DOL wants to be sure that the employer did not find workers inside the United States that could do the work, and the h2a workers will not affect the wages of U.S. employees.
Submit Petition To USCIS
Here is the next step after the DOL certification approval is done by filing form I-12 to USCIS. The process is to petition the U.S. government to permit foreign workers to get hired in a U.S. entity. The submitted document should accompany by a fee of $460 for processing.
The fee is for one foreign worker so, if you intend to hire more, you will have to pay more.
Meet DOL Requirements
Employers have to meet the DOL h2a employer requirements for them to employ a foreign worker. The U.S. employer has to prove the following;
- Efforts Of Recruitment- The employers have to demonstrate DOL that they tried recruiting U.S. workers.
- Pay foreign Workers Fair Wages- U.S. employers must pay the same wage rate to foreign workers as they pay any U.S workers. It should comply with either federal or state minimum wage.
- Provide Meal- United States employers must provide three meal food daily to foreign workers or have cooking facilities at the workplace where foreign employees can cook for themselves.
- Provide Housing- U.S employers must provide housing for their foreign workers if foreign employees work in a remote place far from their residence. This housing should be of the approved standard by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration(OSHA).
- Provide Means Of Transportation- Employers must provide transportation for their foreign employees in these cases;
- After the contract is 50 % completed, the U.S. employer has to reimburse the transportation expenses incurred.
- If the foreign worker is living with the employer, it is the responsibility of a U.S. employer to provide transportation from the housing to the place of work.
- At the end of the contract, it is the responsibility of the employer to pay for the cost of the foreign employee returning transportation. In cases that the foreign worker is not returning to the place of recruitment due to the newfound job, the employer will not be responsible for the transportation.