Agricultural employers struggle to enlist adequate numbers of seasonal laborers every year. It’s just the way that agriculture works. For small, family farms family members, neighbors, and friends may be adequate to fill the need. For larger and more labor-intense operations, particularly in the western states, there magnitude of the need is greater than the supply of willing workers. From grapes to garlic and from apples to avocados, growers are hard pressed to enlist temporary workers from within the U.S.
Temporary Agricultural H-2A Visa
The answer to the seasonal agricultural labor shortage is the H-2A Visa. While the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa is not new to employers, some perceive the process as cumbersome and overly complex. We agree. So does the Trump administration. In early 2017, news was leaked that indicated that the DHS hopes to modernize the H-2A process sometime during the current presidential term. It is believed that changes would streamline the process and make it less costly.
Growers expect that local seasonal labor will continue to be hard to find, especially at the wages that they must pay in order to operate profitably. Local workers who do apply and are hired typically do not stay at the job. The number of H-2A Visas issued doubled between 2012 and 2016.
Employers are the petitioners who initiate the H-2A process by first obtaining a labor certification from the Department of Labor. The employer must be able to provide evidence that there are “not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available” to perform the work needed.
Once the certification is received, the employer submits a petition for seasonal workers to the Department of Homeland Security. If that petition is approved, foreign workers outside of the U.S. may apply as a recipient of an H-2A Visa and then seek admission to the U.S. at a port of entry.
American Corporate Services, Inc., now in its 27th year of operation, can assist growers with and throughout the entire process. We can work to ensure that all documents are complete and accurate, and we are able to help locate and hire willing foreign workers. Our services allow growers to focus on their primary field of expertise while we do the heavy lifting of documentation, processing, and locating workers. Contact us today at info@Business-Visa-USA.com or 415-682-2550.