If your business is facing seasonal or other short-term staffing needs, or economic uncertainty is impacting your permanent hiring decisions, H-2 visas for temporary workers may be the answer.
The need for labor is considered to be temporary if it is:
There are two H-2 visa options to consider based on your industry.
H-2A visas are appropriate for any agriculture-related industry requiring temporary or seasonal help and allow workers to remain in the U.S. for one year, but employers can request extensions annually for up to three years. At the end of three years, the worker must leave the U.S. before seeking readmission. There are no government caps on the number of H-2A visas allowed each year.
H-2B visas are used for many industries and allow workers to remain in the U.S. for up to three years, and, like the H-2A visa, the worker must leave the U.S. before seeking readmission. Also, the government caps the number of H-2B visas allowed each year, and eligible workers are selected via a lottery.
Both types of H-2 visa holders are entitled to prevailing wages and standards of employment, worker’s compensation benefits, as well as certain housing and education benefits for them and their families. The spouse and children under 21 years of age of H-2 visa holders may seek admission on H-4 visas but are not eligible for employment.
To obtain either type of H-2 visa, an employer must show that:
Meeting these requirements is integrated into the application process for both types of H-2 visas.
The H-2A process should be started 60 to 75 calendar days before the job’s start date. The process involves these basic steps:
The H2-B process should be started at least 150 calendar days before the job’s start date. This visa type’s process includes all of the above but also requires employers to first obtain a prevailing wage determination from the DOL’s National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) before applying for temporary labor certification. The DOL determines the prevailing wage for the particular role and the employer must agree to pay at least that wage. Employers for H-2B workers must include the DOL’s prevailing wage determination in their application for temporary labor certification.
While we have simplified launching a temporary workers program, employers often face significant challenges, including:
BAL’s experienced immigration attorneys Ashley Foret Dees and Jeff Joseph can provide straightforward counsel on successfully navigating the H-2 visa processes. Get the temporary help your business needs on your terms, from assessing candidates to managing the documentation and responding to government agencies, ensuring compliance and reducing risk.
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