The USCIS has started an H-2A employer data hub following suit with similar data hubs for other visa programs, which the USCIS has launched in recent years. This new employer data hub will give easy access to information about agents or American employers who are petitioning for H-2A workers.
The H-2A visa program is used by employers to obtain temporary nonimmigrant workers for certain types of seasonal or temporary jobs. The H-2A visa allows foreign national workers to enter the United States temporarily for these jobs. Typically eight million petitions, requests, and applications are processed by the USCIS every year, and many employers have still expressed that this is not enough.
According to the USCIS, the data hub is part of the agency’s continuing attempt to make employment-based visa programs more transparent. The agency also has an H-1B data hub it started in 2019 and an H-2B data hub it started in 2021.
The H-2A data hub will let members of the public conduct a search for those petitioning for an H-2A visa by employer, city, state, name, fiscal year, North American Industry Classification System, worksite state, and Standard Occupational Classification, or SOC, code, or zip code.
The H-2A employer data hub contains information that comes from USCIS’ adjudicative decisions, employers’ Form I-129s, consular processing, the Department of Labor’s H-2A Application for Temporary Employment Certification, and the Department of Labor’s H-2A Agricultural Clearance Order (Form ETA-790A). The employer data hub has information based on the USCIS’ first adjudicative decision, not revocations or appeals of approved decisions or other later decisions. Also, if a petition is pending adjudication, it is not included in the data hub.
This new H-2A Employer data hub contains data from the 2015 through 2021 fiscal years for those employers who submitted petitions within that time period in an attempt to employ H-2A nonimmigrant workers. Within the system, employers are identified by the last four digits of their tax identification number. Data can be downloaded from the hub in comma-separated values file format.
USCIS has stated that they intend to update information within the Employer Data Hub quarterly with downloadable data files. For those who need assistance using the H-2A Employer Data Hub, the USCIS has created an Understanding Our H-2A Employer Data Hub webpage with detailed information on using the system.
This new data hub should give both employers and the public a better understanding of the agency’s decision-making regarding H-2A workers. Hiring these foreign national workers can be a complex process and often no more so than when completing the Form I-9. One of the best ways to make this process easier is using an electronic I-9 management tool. This can guide hiring personnel every step of the way in completing the Form I-9 and ensure it is stored securely for review at any time.
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