H-2A Visa Classification

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H-2A Visa Classification

H-2A: Agricultural Occupation

The H-2A program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs for which U.S. workers are not available.  H-2A nonimmigrant classification applies to aliens seeking to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature in the United States on a temporary basis. A U.S. employer (or an association of U.S. agricultural producers named as a joint employer) must file a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker on a prospective worker’s behalf.

To qualify for H-2A nonimmigrant classification:

• The job offered must be of a temporary or seasonal nature
• The employer must demonstrate that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work
• The employer must show that the employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers
• Generally, a single, valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor must be submitted with the H-2A petition.  (A limited exception to this requirement exists in certain “emergent circumstances.”  See e.g., 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(x) for specific details).
• H-2A Eligible Countries List
• H-2A petitions may only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, as eligible to participate in the H-2A program.*  The list of H-2A eligible countries is  published in a notice in the Federal Register (FR) by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on a rolling basis.  Designation of countries on the H-2A list of eligible countries will be valid for one year from publication.   
• Effective of January 19, 2010, nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A Program: Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethioipia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.
• A national from a country not on the list may only be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A petition if the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that it is in the U.S. interest for that alien to be the beneficiary of such a petition.  [See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(2)(iii) and (5)(i)(F)(1)(ii) for additional evidentiary requirements.]