Arkansas Global Connect
What is an H-2A VISA?
A legal non-immigrant foreign labor program for seasonal agricultural workers when sufficient U.S. workers are not available. Foreign workers who qualify for and comply with the terms of an H-2A visa can return to the same employer season after season.
What are the Employer’s Responsibilities?
Who Can Participate in the H-2A program?
Christmas Tree Farms
Row Crop Growers
- The Department of Labor (DOL) must certify that there are not sufficient U.S. workers qualified and available to perform the labor involved and that the employment of the foreign worker will not have an adverse effect on the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
- H-2A employers must provide employment to any qualified, eligible U.S. worker who applies for the job opportunity until 50 percent of the period of the work contract has elapsed. Employers must offer U.S. workers terms and working conditions which are not less favorable than those offered to H-2A workers.
- The employer must pay all covered workers at least the highest of the following applicable wage rates in effect at the time work is performed: the adverse effect wage rate (AEWR), the applicable prevailing wage, the agreed-upon collective bargaining rate, or the Federal or State statutory minimum wage. Wages may be calculated on the basis of hourly or “piece” rates of pay. The piece rate must be no less than the piece rate prevailing for the activity in the area of intended employment and on a pay period basis must average no less than the highest required hourly wage rate.
- No later than the time at which an H-2A worker applies for a visa and no later than on the first (1st) day of work for workers in corresponding employment, the employer must provide each worker a copy of the work contract – in a language understood by the worker – which describes the terms and conditions of employment. In the absence of a separate written work contract, the employer must provide each worker with a copy of the job order that was submitted to and approved by DOL.
- H-2A employers must guarantee to offer each covered worker employment for a total number of hours equal to at least 75% of the workdays in the contract period – called the “three-fourths guarantee.”
- Employers must provide housing at no cost to H-2A workers and to workers in corresponding employment who are not reasonably able to return to their residence within the same day. If the employer elects to secure rental accommodations for such workers, the employer is required to pay all housing-related charges directly to the housing’s management. Employer-provided or secured housing must meet all applicable safety standards.
- Employers are required to either provide each covered worker with three meals per day, at no more than a DOL-specified cost, or to furnish free and convenient cooking and kitchen facilities where workers can prepare their own meals.
- Employers must provide daily transportation between the workers’ living quarters and the employer’s worksite at no cost to covered workers living in employer-provided housing.
- If not previously advanced or otherwise provided, the employer must reimburse workers for reasonable costs incurred for inbound transportation and subsistence costs once the worker completes 50% of the work contract period.
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