As discussed in our previous newsletter “Best Practices: Part 1, Screening H-2A Applicants in the U.S.”, H-2A workers currently working in the U.S. may be seeking better options and start applying for a job directly to H-2A employers with higher AEWR.

As an H-2A employer, you may wonder if it’s possible to petition for them to work for you.

Best Practices 

Jason Resnick

H-2A employers must offer and provide each H-2A worker three meals per day or provide the workers free and convenient cooking facilities. If an employer elects to provide the meals to the H-2A workers, it must provide three meals per day to each employee living in employer housing per day, every day, including Sundays.

Employers may deduct the cost of the meals up to a daily limit imposed by law – currently $14.00 per day – unless the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) approves a higher rate.

Jason Resnick

The current AEWR is different from one state to another. For example, in California, the current wage offered for H-2A workers is $17.51 and in states like Alabama or South Carolina it’s $11.99. This disparity in wage rates can result in H-2A workers seeking better options, applying for a job directly with H-2A employers offering higher wages while the workers are still in the United States under a current labor certification.

Jason Resnick

 

The U.S. Department of Labor recently assessed a Florida farm labor contractor over $37,000 for failing to reimburse fees to its H-2A workers.[i] The H-2A program allows for the employment of nonimmigrant workers for seasonal and temporary agricultural work. The federal program requires employers to reimburse H-2A workers for certain costs by the end of their first workweek or pay period.

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H-2A

Western Growers has been the leading agricultural organization in advocating for a comprehensive immigration reform solution that includes legalizing the status of currently falsely-documented farmworkers and a new guest worker visa program to ensure future flows of labor. With many members increasingly turning to the H-2A program to meet their labor needs, Western Growers has elevated H-2A reform as a top public policy priority.

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Western Growers members care deeply for the food they grow, the land they sustain, the people they employ, and the community in which they live.