Third-Party Use High for Employer H-2A Applications

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U.S. farmers who want to hire temporary foreign workers through the H-2A visa program usually work with a third party, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. The new data announced this week indicated third parties, such as agents, associations or a lawyer, to make the applications. Employers themselves filed applications for only 15 percent of all jobs requested. Across the U.S., agents filed applications for 45 percent of all H-2A jobs, an association of farm enterprises filed for 21 percent of jobs, and 19 percent came from a lawyer representing the farmer. However, the usage rates for third parties differ across states. For instance, lawyers tend to file for most of the jobs in California, while agents and associations account for almost two-thirds of the job filings in Florida. The H-2A program allows farm operators who foresee a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. temporarily to perform agricultural labor or services.

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