The H-2 visa is designed for certain foreign nationals to work temporarily for US employers. These roles usually face a shortage of US workers. Employers must prove that a job is truly temporary to qualify for H-2 visa sponsorship.
The H-2A visa covers agricultural employees, while the H-2B is for non-agricultural workers.
As of January 2018, nationals from the following countries are eligible for H-2A and H‑2B visas. Nationals of countries not listed may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.
|Brunei||Honduras||Nauru||St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Croatia||Jamaica||Papua New Guinea||Tonga|
H2-A: Temporary Agricultural Workers
To sponsor a foreign agricultural worker on a temporary H-2A visa, an employer must do the following:
- Offer a vacant full-time job that is temporary or seasonal
- Demonstrate that there are not enough qualified, willing, or able US workers to fill the role(s)
- Prove that hiring a foreign worker in the role will not negatively impact pay and working conditions of US workers
- Submit a valid temporary Labor Certification from the US Department of Labor
Except in special circumstances, H-2A positions should not last longer than one year.
Process for Filing
Employers must prove that US workers will not be adversely affected by hiring a foreign H-2A worker.
Before filing a petition for the H-2A worker, the employer must first verify the prevailing wage for workers in this category. This information can be found at the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center Online Wage Library. The employer must pay the minimum prevailing wage for the role.
Next, the employer must apply for labor certification.
First the employer must file a job order using ETA Form 790 with the State Workforce Agency between 60-75 days before they will need the worker. This job order must include the following information:
- Tax ID numbers
- State Farm Labor Contractor Licensing Requirements
Prospective employers must file a Form I-129 on behalf of the foreign national.
H2-B: Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers
The length of stay on an H-2B visa depends on what is agreed upon in the Labor Certification. It may be extended for periods of one year at a time, for a maximum of three total years.