Overview of H2A Temporary Agricultural Worker Program

The H2A program was created in response to the shortage of agricultural workers in the United States. This program allows U.S. farms and agricultural businesses to bring foreign nationals to the U.S. to fill positions that are of a temporary or seasonal nature if certain requirements are met. The program is extremely useful, but also complex, so employers utilizing the H2A program must pay special attention to the program’s steps and requirements.

Logistical Steps in the Process

In order to sponsor one or more H2A workers, an employer or agent first must obtain a prevailing wage determination from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This helps to ensure that the employment of H2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Once obtained, the employer will file a job order with the State Workforce Agency, and file the H2A application (ETA 9142) with the DOL. The ETA 9142 includes the information contained in the prevailing wage determination and the employer attests to certain protections for the H2A workers.

The DOL will review the ETA 9142 and, if the position and requirements are acceptable, will issue recruitment instructions. These instructions will include information on where to advertise and for how long, and will request the employer to contact any U.S. workers they previously employed in the occupation the previous year. The employer must conduct the necessary recruitment and submit a recruitment report to the DOL as specified in the recruitment instructions. After reviewing the recruitment report and any other supplemental documentation, the DOL will issue a Final Determination Notice. The employer will use this Final Determination Notice as an exhibit in the H2A petition filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the foreign worker/s being sponsored.


The H2A process can be confusing and requires proper planning in order to better ensure a successful outcome. U.S. employers interested in bringing in H2A workers are encouraged to schedule a consultation with a Murthy Law Firm attorney, who can provide information and guidance, as well as representation in all aspects of the H2A process.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.