For businesses dependent on temporary workers, a labor shortage means reduced revenue that can ultimately result in downsizing and sometimes even closure.

BAL offers advanced legal strategies that improve your chances of obtaining H-2A and H-2B visas for the workers you need to keep your operations running smoothly.

BAL’s essential temporary workforce support provides a competitive advantage for any industry:

    • Avoid costly errors and delays. Let us handle the complex, confusing application process. Missed the application window for H-2B visas? We offer multiple creative strategies to keep your valued employees anyways.
    • Have confidence in compliance. We assist in training your staff to ensure compliance with state wage transparency laws, documentation requirements, and annual changes to H-2B rules.
    • Handle government inquiries successfully. BAL helps prepare you for wage and hour investigations, in-person visits from government agents, including ICE and DOL, and can represent you before government agencies.
    • Gain employees’ good will. Whenever possible, we help keep families together by assisting employees’ spouses and minor children to qualify for H-4 visas.
    • Offer more permanent positions. We provide candidate assessments to determine eligibility for permanent residency before you hire.
    • Stay ahead of ever-evolving regulations. We not only provide continuously updated alerts on frequently changing rules and regulations, but also explain what they mean for your business—the opportunities and challenges.
    • Streamline case management with Cobalt®. BAL’s proprietary case management platform delivers the business intelligence you need for effective planning and budgeting with customized reporting, helping you make data-driven decisions about immigration benefits, risks, and opportunities.

Frequently Asked Workforce Solutions and H-2 Questions

What is an H-2A visa?

The H-2A visa program allows a U.S. employer or agent to bring foreign nationals to the United States for temporary or seasonal agricultural jobs. The foreign national must have a standing offer of employment to qualify for an H-2A visa, and their prospective employer must meet certain regulatory requirements. If all legal requirements are met, the employer may petition the U.S. government to initiate the H2-A process for the foreign national worker.

What are the requirements for H-2A nonimmigrant classification?

To qualify for H-2A nonimmigrant classification, an employer must: • Offer a job that is temporary or seasonal in nature. • Show that there are not enough U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, or available to do the temporary work. • Demonstrate that employing the H-2A worker will not negatively impact the wages and working conditions of similarly-employed U.S. workers. • The visa holder intends to return to their home country after the visa expiration date. • Submit a valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

How long are H-2A workers allowed to stay in the U.S.?

A worker with an H-2A visa may be granted a stay for up to the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification submitted by their employer to the U.S. government. H-2A classification stays may be extended in increments of up to 1 year. The maximum period of H2-A classification stay permitted is 3 years.

Can a spouse enter the U.S. on an H-2A visa?

Qualifying spouses and dependents of an H-2A worker may also be allowed to enter the United States, and the worker is given the unrestricted permission to travel into and outside of the U.S. for 365 days. Family members of H-2A workers are ineligible for employment in the U.S. under this program, but may be able to personally qualify for a work visa.

Are H-2A visa holders entitled to benefits?

H-2A visa holders are entitled to prevailing wages, protection under U.S. wage and labor laws, workers’ compensation benefits, transportation, and certain housing and education benefits for themselves and their family.

Can H-2A visas be extended?

H-2A classifications may be extended in increments of up to 1 year each. The maximum extension permitted under the H-2A program is 3 years. With certain exceptions, after 3 years an H-2A worker must leave the U.S. for 3 consecutive months before seeking readmission.

What is an H-2B visa?

An H-2B nonimmigrant visa allows a U.S. employer or U.S. agent to bring foreign nationals to the U.S. for temporary, non-agricultural jobs.

Which industries use H-2B visas?

Many employers in the agricultural sector, such as seafood processors and the forestry industry, use the H-2B visa program to retain temporary, seasonal foreign national workers.

How can my company qualify to hire temporary, seasonal workers under the H-2B program?

To qualify for H-2B nonimmigrant visa classification, an employer must: • Show that there are not enough U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, or available to do the temporary, non-agricultural work. • Demonstrate that employing the H-2B worker will not negatively impact the wages and working conditions of similarly-employed U.S. workers. • Show that the need for labor is temporary in duration. Work placement and temporary agencies are not eligible for the H-2B visa program. • Submit a valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

How can my company establish an H-2B program temporary need for labor?

In order to demonstrate an H-2B program temporary need for labor, an employer must show that the labor is: • A one-time occurrence: An employment situation that is usually permanent has created the need for a temporary worker, the employer has not employed workers for the services or labor in the past, and the employer will not need to hire workers to perform the services or labor in the future. • Seasonal: The employer’s need for services or labor is tied to a season of the year by an event or pattern, and is of a recurring nature. • Peak load: The employer routinely employs permanent workers to perform the services or labor, needs to supplement its permanent staff due to a seasonal or short-term demand, and the temporary staff additions will not become part of the employer’s regular operation. • Intermittent: The employer has not hired permanent or full-time workers to perform the services or labor, and occasionally or intermittently needs workers for short periods.