Nonimmigrant Visas for Temporary or Seasonal Agricultural Workers
The employment needs of ranchers and farmers in the Salt Lake City and throughout the United States are often met by hiring foreign nationals from Mexico and other countries in Latin America and throughout the world. As the American labor force has shifted its focus to the service sector, agricultural employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find people who are willing to work in fields at the wages that are available for such positions. In order to facilitate the hiring of foreign workers to fill these positions, the Immigration and Nationality Act provides the H-2A visa for temporary agricultural workers.
About the H-2A Temporary Employment Visa
As a nonimmigrant visa, the H-2A does not provide the holder with a green card or permanent resident status, and it is not a path to citizenship. Instead, it is only available for people who are coming to the United States for the purpose of performing temporary or seasonal agricultural work. It is not, however, limited to only a single harvest season or similar period. The H-2A visa is valid for as long as the employer has been approved for temporary labor certification, and may be extended in one-year increments for up to a total of three years. Once the worker has spent three years in the United States, he or she must return to the country of origin for a period of at least three months before reapplying for entry to this country. An H-2A visa holder may bring his or her spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 on the H-4 visa, but the family members may not work while they are in the U.S.
H-2A Seasonal Agricultural Worker Application Process
The process of applying for an H-2A seasonal agricultural visa begins when the employer files a request for labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). To obtain labor certification, the employer must be able to demonstrate to the DOL that local workers will not be deprived of jobs or have their wages depressed if foreign nationals are brought in to work in the area. After the employer has received labor certification, it may then file a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, thereby acting as a sponsor for the prospective employee. Only when this petition has been approved may the foreign national apply for the H-2A visa through the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This type of visa is only available to citizens and nationals of countries on a list published by the Department of Homeland Security, though exceptions are possible when they would serve the best interests of the United States.
How a Salt Lake City Immigration Lawyer Can Help
At Keen Law Offices, LLC, we assist employers in Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities with resolving the immigration legal issues they face. If you are concerned with avoiding unnecessary complications and ensuring that you are in full compliance with U.S. immigration law in your efforts to fill crucial employment positions, come to us for help. We can represent you in your request for labor certification, help you prepare your I-129 petition, and coordinate with the prospective employee to ensure that the visa application is completed in a timely manner. A Salt Lake City immigration lawyer from our team can assist you with every step of the process, and we are ready to take immediate action on your case.