Temporary and Seasonal Workers Visa

H-2B / H-2A Visas

Foreign workers may obtain temporary work visas in order to perform seasonal jobs from year to year due to the lack of available employees within the United States. The visas are given to temporary workers for a period of up to 10 months.

H-2A visas are issued to temporary agricultural and horticultural workers. H-2B visas are issued to temporary non-agricultural workers.

How Many Visas Are Available Each Year?

There are 66,000 H-2B visas available each fiscal year (October 1st to September 30th). There is no limit on the number of H-2A visas available each year.

Filing Process for Employers

There are several steps that must be followed in processing temporary work visas:

  • Step 1: The Employer must file the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination. The “prevailing wage” is the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment.
  • Step 2: An Application for Temporary Employment Certification is then filed. The purpose of employment certification programs is to assure that admission of foreign workers will not hurt American workers by adversely affecting work conditions, wages, and opportunities.
  • Step 3: Job must be posted through the local State Workforce Agency. The employer must register with the local State Workforce Agency and meet all local requirements. Newspaper ads must also be published and must adhere to strict program guidelines. Advertisements are placed in local media and newspapers in an effort to fill the available positions from employment pools within the United States.
  • Step 4: A summary of recruitment efforts must be prepared.
  • Step 5: The U.S. Department of Labor will issue a certification if approved.
  • Step 6: Labor certification, petition for a non-immigrant worker, and recruitment reports are submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Step 7: If the petition is approved, it is sent to the appropriate U.S. Consulate where the foreign worker will apply to get the visa issued.

Although the U.S. Department of Labor may issue a certification, it is not a guarantee that the visa will be issued. All applicants must also establish that they are admissible to the United States. It is also important to note that certifications are issued to the employer and not the employees themselves. It is possible for an employer to petition for more than one employee in the same application.

Employers who receive the temporary labor certification are required to keep documented records for a period of up to three years from the certification date of what the prevailing wage determination is, what efforts were made to advertise or recruit for the positions, evidence that the appropriate unions were contacted, proof that laid-off workers were made aware of the opportunity, the recruitment report, and all the documents that provide evidence for the temporary need of the employer.

In cases of denial, employers may request review before the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals within 10 days of the date of determination.

How Can an Austin Immigration Attorney Help?

The H-2B/H-2A Visa process can be more complicated than simply filling out an application and waiting for results. There are a number of procedural and material requirements for obtaining these benefits, and navigating through the process can be very daunting and time-consuming. For this reason, it is advisable to obtain the advice and assistance of a qualified immigration law attorney to handle the matter.

Austin, Texas immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle of the Lyttle Law Firm has experience assisting individuals in H-2B/H-2A Visa issues. Ms. Lyttle is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, and can communicate directly with clients and their family members directly in these languages, as well as understand documents in these languages.

Furthermore, because immigration law is a federal, the Lyttle Law Firm can assist you even if you are not a resident of Texas. If you need a competent immigration attorney to handle your H-2B/H-2A Visa matter, contact the Lyttle Law Firm, and you will be able to speak to a qualified immigration attorney to get the advice and assistance you need. An Austin immigration lawyer experienced in all aspects of H-2B/H-2A Visa applications can make the process more manageable, as well as provide relevant context pertaining to how the matter is proceeding and what you can reasonably expect in terms of both time frame and success in obtaining the desired immigration benefit.

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