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Wage and Hour Division

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

H-2A: Temporary Agricultural Employment of Foreign Workers

Overview

Section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the lawful admission into the United States of temporary, nonimmigrant workers (H-2A workers) to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. Before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can approve an employer's petition for such workers, the employer must file an application with the Departmentís Employment and Training Administration (ETA) stating, among other things, that there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available, and that the employment of aliens will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers similarly employed in the U.S.. Any employer using H-2A workers must have initially attempted to find U.S. workers to fill these jobs. H-2A workers and domestic workers in corresponding employment must be paid special rates of pay that vary by locality, must be provided housing and transportation from that housing to the job site if their employment requires them to be away from their residence overnight, and must be guaranteed an offer of employment for a total number of hours equal to at least 75% of the work period specified in the contract.

Key News

  • On April 15, 2015, the Department of Labor (Department) published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Foreign Workers in the Herding or Production of Livestock on the Range in the United States (NPRM) (80 FR 20300), with a comment period that closed on June 1, 2015 (80 FR 25633). Upon careful review of all public comments received, the Department has published in the Federal Register on October 16, 2015 a Final Rule amending the regulations governing the labor certification process and standards for the temporary employment of H-2A foreign workers in herder occupations in the United States, codified at 20 CFR part 655, and enforcement of employer obligations under the H-2A program. To read the full text of the Final Rule, please click here. To read a short description of the Final Rule and FAQs regarding the Final Rule, please click here.
  • On February 12, 2010, the Departmentís Employment and Training Administration and Wage and Hour Division published final rules implementing changes to the H-2A program. The final rule is effective March 15, 2010. Click here for the Final Rule.

General Guidance

Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet #26 - general information concerning the application of the H-2A requirements to the agricultural industry for H-2A applications submitted on or after March 15, 2010.

Fact Sheet #77D - Retaliation Prohibited under the H-2A Temporary Visa Program

Posters

Presentations

Applicable Laws and Regulations



Civil Money Penalty Inflation Adjustments

Starting in 2016, agencies across the federal government must adjust their penalties for inflation each year. Below is a table that reflects the adjustments that have occurred for penalties under this statute. For more information on the penalty adjustments, go here.

Type of Violation Statutory Citation CFR Citation Maximum Civil Monetary Penalty before 8/1/2016 Maximum Civil Monetary Penalty after 8/1/2016
(1) Violation of the work contract or a requirement of 8 USC 1188, 20 CFR part 655 subpart B, or 29 CFR part 501; 8 USC 1188(g)(2) 29 CFR 501.19(c) $1,500 $1,631
(i) Willful violation of the work contract or a requirement of 8 USC 1188, 20 CFR part 655 subpart B, or 29 CFR part 501; 8 USC 1188(g)(2) 29 CFR 501.19(c)(1) $5,000 $5,491
(ii) Violation of a housing or transportation safety and health provision of the work contract, or any obligation under 8 USC 1188, 20 CFR part 655 subpart B, or 29 CFR part 501, that proximately causes the death or serious injury of any worker; 8 USC 1188(g)(2) 29 CFR 501.19(c)(2) $50,000 $54,373
(iii) Repeat or willful violation of a housing or transportation safety and health provision of the work contract, or any obligation under 8 USC 1188, 20 CFR part 655 subpart B, or 29 CFR part 501, that proximately causes the death or serious injury of any worker; 8 USC 1188(g)(2) 29 CFR 501.19(c)(4) $100,000 $108,745
(1) Violation for failure to cooperate in an investigation; 8 USC 1188(g)(2) 29 CFR 501.19(d) $5,000 $5,491
(1) Violation for laying off or displacing any US worker employed in work or activities that are encompassed by the approved Application for Temporary Employment Certification for H-2A workers in the area of intended employment either within 60 days preceding the date of need or during the validity period of the job order, including any approved extension thereof, other than for a lawful, job-related reason; 8 USC 1188(g)(2) 29 CFR 501.19(e) $15,000 $16,312
(1) Violation for improperly rejecting a US worker who is an applicant for employment, in violation of 8 USC 1188, 20 CFR part 655 subpart B, or 29 CFR part 501. 8 USC 1188(g)(2) 29 CFR 501.19(f) $15,000 $16,312