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A New Hiring Guide for America's Agricultural Employers

Posted by Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employment & Training Administration. in USDA Results Trade
Dec 14, 2011

Cross posted from the Department of Labor blog:

Agricultural businesses large and small rely on seasonal workers.  When U.S. workers are not available, employers can utilize the H-2A program to hire temporary foreign workers to perform certain types of agricultural work.

Our Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is charged by Congress with protecting the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers while also providing a legal means for employers to access foreign workers with critical skills.  OFLC is strengthening America’s economic competitiveness through a foreign labor system that reflects our values and meets employers’ needs.

To legally hire seasonal workers from abroad, employers must first receive a temporary labor certification from the Department of Labor – a process outlined simply in a new H-2A Employer Guide released today by OFLC.

The H-2A Employer Guide is designed to help businesses know what to expect in the certification process – who can participate, what they need to do, and by when.

The process breaks down into four simple steps:

  1. Filing a job order with the State Workforce Agency 75 to 60 days before the start of work;
  2. Filing an H-2A application with OFLC’s Chicago National Processing Center at least 45 days before the start of work;
  3. Confirming, through advertising and other recruitment means, that there are no U.S. workers available for the jobs to be filled; and finally
  4. Filing final recruitment, housing and workers’ compensation documents with our National Processing Center at least 30 days before the start of work.

These steps, along with helpful hints, are outlined in further detail in the Employer Guide available here, along with more general information and Frequently Asked Questions on our Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s website (

Jane Oates is the assistant secretary of labor for the Employment & Training Administration.

Category/Topic: USDA Results Trade