The North American country is one of the largest producers of agriculture, such as soybeans, corn, and beef and chicken. In addition, it is also a large producer of pork and cotton. Despite the great development of its field, the number of workers available is sometimes not enough for the amount of demand.
Because of this, the Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of Agriculture have jointly created a program to solve this problem. This is the H-2A visa, also known as the Temporary Agricultural Works program.
What is the H-2A visa?
The H-2A visa is a strategy launched by the US Government to help farmers who need workers on their farms. To do this, foreign farmers, such as Colombians, who want to work in the United States, are invited for a certain period of time.
The type of work offered with this visa is limited in scope, for other types of temporary work you must check the H-2B permit. With the H-2A permit, you can get:
- Temporary jobs: that do not take more than one year to complete
- Seasonal work: performed within the framework of a specific event or period, such as a time of year when a little help is needed.
In both cases, the type of work may include planting, cultivating, or harvesting work. Also, depending on the offer, you can work in fields, plantations, ranches, nurseries, pastures, greenhouses, orchards and other similar places.
Who can apply?
People who qualify for the H-2A visa must meet certain conditions, such as:
- Find job offers for agriculture, temporary or seasonal jobs.
- You must show that there are not enough Americans who are able, willing, qualified and available to do the job that the foreigner will do.
- Ensure that the hiring of a foreigner hired on an H-2A visa does not affect the wages or working conditions of US employees performing similar tasks.
- Prepare the necessary documents, the fee bills and the approvals for the requested procedures.
H-2A application process
According to the Department of Agriculture, the H-2A visa application and processing process can take up to 75 days. The steps in this process are:
- Farmers who need workers will request the local State Labor Agency to request foreign farmers.
- This farmer requested a Temporary Labor Certification at the National Processing Center in Chicago, of the Department of Labor (LCA).
- Once all the documents are in place and the application has been approved, the LCA will start the call and publish the offers for foreigners.
- Those interested must make a formal application for the H-2A visa at their US embassy or consulate. You need to prepare, because you will be asked to interview for the call.
- In addition, they must go to Customs and Border Protection to request admission to the United States.
- Those who are approved must travel to the workplace and must adhere to the entry and exit dates, as stipulated in the contract.
A list of available jobs to apply for is available at SeasonalJobs.dol.gov. You’ll find job information there, such as start and end dates, the hourly rate you’ll receive, and the location. We leave you several tips to get a contract in the United States.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the costs corresponding to the employee for the procedure are:
- Consular fee: USD 190 (801,914 COP). This money can be returned to the selected worker on the first salary.
- Border stamp fee: USD 6
- Agent fee: about USD 100
- The cost of labor transportation: varies between $400 to $650, depending on the country of origin
It is important to remember that employers must arrange your accommodation if you cannot return home on the same day. Work equipment must be provided to the worker, free of charge.
Similarly, the employer is required to deliver three meals to his employee or allow him to cook for free at work.
Finally, the employer cannot withhold your passports or documents. The working standards should be dictated by the contract, which will be checked by the competent authorities.