Foreign National Employment Options for Seasonal and Agricultural Work

Seasonal and Agricultural Work

It can be difficult for employers who require seasonal workers to find the people they need. Agricultural employers have the most difficulty because most people lack interest in seasonal, temporary, and fark work. However, hiring immigrant and non-immigrant workers can be an excellent way to fill these jobs, and many visa categories make this possible. Here are some of these programs.

H-2B – Temporary or Seasonal Non-agricultural Worker Program

Employers needing employees in non-degree or non-professional jobs can hire foreign nations with the H-2B visa. This visa is for temporary or seasonal non-agricultural workers. Unfortunately, obtaining workers through this program can be difficult. In addition, it can mean dealing with several federal and state agencies. The H-2B visa is also the only non-immigrant work visa requiring employers to procure temporary labor certifications after conducting a labor market test.

These visas are for obtaining seasonal or temporary low-skilled workers. They are obtained by following the procedure on the USCIS H-2B webpage. However, this visa program does have an annual cap of 66,000, split between two seasons. The first half begins on October 1, and the second half starts on April 1.

H-2A – Temporary or Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

The temporary or seasonal agricultural worker program is an option for agricultural employers. A significant advantage of this program is that it has no annual cap. However, employers must try hiring U.S. workers before H-2A workers.

Employers must attempt to recruit U.S. workers, including contacting laid-off workers from the previous year and asking if they want to return. Employers must also complete a recruitment report that lists every U.S. worker who applied, hired, and otherwise, with an explanation for why anyone was not. This report must remain available for three years.

Employers must also work with the State Workforce Agency to recruit and hire U.S. workers until half the work period has finished. At this point, the employer must complete a final recruitment report and retain it. The specific details about the H-2A visa program and how to apply for it are available on the USCIS H-2A webpage.

Permanent Foreign Labor- A Green Card

Some businesses that need seasonal and temporary workers also have difficulty obtaining a sufficient number of permanent workers. For these businesses, sponsoring a foreign worker for a green card may be a good option. There are a limited number of green cards issued each year, and each country has a limited number of these visas. After a country reaches its cap, applicants go on a waiting list. However, applicants could participate in an H-2B or H-2A program while waiting. Information on applying for a green card is on the USCIS green card webpage.

Final Thoughts

It can be challenging for many employers to find enough workers with the current labor shortages. Agricultural employers, in particular, often struggle to find enough workers. The visa programs discussed in this article could be helpful for many employers.

It is important to remember that you will need to complete Form I-9 for any worker hired. This process can confuse foreign national employees due to the different documents they can present. However, an electronic I-9 management system can make the process far easier by guiding hiring personnel through every step and safely storing them for easy retrieval.

Streamline your hiring process with an automated employment eligibility verification and ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.