USDA Says Seasonal Worker Numbers Jumped in 2021

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It’s well known that American agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers can fill seasonal farm jobs with temporary foreign workers through the H-2A Visa Program.

The Department of Labor officially certified approximately 317,000 temporary jobs in fiscal year 2021 under the H-2A program. That number was more than six times the number of jobs certified in 2005. Only about 80 percent of the certified jobs in 2021 resulted in the issuance of a visa. The program has grown partly in response to current U.S. domestic workers finding jobs outside of American agriculture and a drop in newly arrived immigrants looking for farm jobs in the U.S.

Six states accounted for about half of the H-2A jobs that were filled in 2021, including Florida, Georgia, Washington, California, North Carolina, and Louisiana. Nationally, the average H-2A contract offered 24 weeks of employment and 39.3 hours per week at $13 per hour.

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