September 24, 2019 in Employment Immigration
Many farmers rely on temporary workers from foreign countries to keep their operations going, especially during certain seasons. In order to lawfully employ these workers, farmers must properly apply for and obtain the necessary H-2A visas. This type of visa exists specifically to allow nationals of foreign countries to lawfully enter and temporarily live in the United States for agricultural work.
It is critical for farmers to strictly follow the process of hiring H-2A workers, as failing to do so can result in costly penalties by immigration authorities. The following is a brief description of the H-2A application process. To discuss your specific situation, contact our H-2A visa lawyers directly.
If you are planning ahead for seasonal employees, the standard application process should be sufficient. The process can take about 75 days to complete successfully, and it involves the following steps, among others:
The process of obtaining the labor certification can be extensive and complex, as it involves showing both that there are not U.S. workers who are able and willing to fulfill your needs, as well as that foreign temporary labor will not affect the working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. It is important to have the guidance of an H-2A visa lawyer to ensure there are no unnecessary delays or complications.
If you realize the need for workers within 75 days, the standard application process may take too long, and you might consider the emergency filing process. Our legal team can evaluate whether the emergency filing process is the right move in your situation. In this case, you should submit your filing with the state TWC at the same time as your application with the DOL for labor certification.
When you receive your certification from the DOL, you can then follow the remaining steps as you would during the standard process, including applying with USCIS and having your workers apply for their visas with their consulates.
If you need agricultural labor within 44 days or sooner, you should directly email the Department of Labor. The email should have a specific subject line and should inquire whether there is enough time for H-2A visa processing before you need the workers to start. You will also need to give adequate justification for using this emergency process. Always speak with an immigration lawyer before you send the email to ensure your communication is processed as needed.
If you currently have H-2A workers and their visas are expiring, you have the ability to apply for an extension of their visas so they can work longer. There are two options for farmers in this position:
No matter what your situation might be, it is important to have legal assistance when trying to hire H-2A visa workers. Any errors can cause denials or delays, which can cost your farm money. Instead of jumping into the process without advice, it is worth it to take the time to consult with an immigration law firm that regularly handles H-2A visa applications. It can save you time, stress, and expenses to know you will have the workers you need.
At the law firm of Farmer, Farmer & Brown, our H-2A visa lawyers help farmers and agricultural businesses obtain the proper visas for the workers they need. If you need temporary labor and want to hire foreign workers, please call (512) 894-2128 or contact us online to set up a consultation and discuss your options and the application process.
Take some time to explain the nature of your needs and we will do our best to reach out to you and collect more information on your legal circumstances. Our team is ready to help you in the best way possible.