Labor shortages have plagued farms across the United States for decades. Congress first created a visa program for non-immigrant labor in the early 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1986 that Congress established the H-2A visa program and H-2A regulations for temporary agricultural workers. Under this program, farmers may apply to employ H-2A workers on their farm on a temporary or seasonal basis for up to a year but may apply to renew the worker’s visa for up to three total years.
The H-2A nonimmigrant worker visa program enables United States agricultural employers to employ foreign workers on a temporary basis to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural labor or services.
In order to hire H-2A workers, an employer must certify in an application to the DOL that there are not enough qualified domestic workers willing and able to perform temporary and seasonal agricultural labor. In order to prove that there is not enough domestic labor, the farmer must demonstrate an effort to advertise the available work in the local area.
Previously, the DOL requirement was that every employer advertises its job opportunity in various print newspapers serving the area of intended employment. Since then, the Department has determined that the newspaper advertisement does not meaningfully contribute to the way workers find out about employment opportunities.
The new rule of the H-2A regulations replaces the former requirement with a requirement to post an electronic advertisement on the website www.SeasonalJobs.dol.gov Despite this, a CO may order additional positive recruitment and direct an employer to place a print advertisement, on a case to case basis.
This final rule is effective on October 21, 2019.
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