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Wage and Hour Division
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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

H-2A: Temporary Agricultural Employment of Foreign Workers


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 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 Open Range in the United States (H-2A Open Range NPRM). 80 FR 20300 (Apr. 15, 2015). On May 5, 2015, the Department published a subsequent notice in the Federal Register to extend the original 30-day comment period by 15 days. The Department invites public comments on the H-2A Open Range NPRM during the 45-day comment period ending on June 1, 2015. To read the H-2A Open Range NPRM and learn how to submit comments, please click here. To read the notice extending the comment period, 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



Applicable Laws and Regulations