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H2A Program

Created by Congress in 1986, the H2A program is designed to assist seasonal agricultural employers who experience a shortage in domestic labor.  Via the H2A program, employers may fill their seasonal labor needs with legal, non-immigrant foreign workers.  

What do I need to do to start the process?

Contact Southern Impact to discuss your labor needs.  Describe your business and the positions that need to be filled in order for your operation to be successful.  Southern Impact will send you the appropriate application to begin the certification process.


How soon do I need to apply?

Employers should contact Southern Impact 3-4 months prior to the date workers are needed.


Is there considerable paperwork involved in the process of getting an employee?

Southern Impact's application forms are user friendly. Southern Impact handles the DOL and USCIS applications for you.

How soon can I expect my approval?

H2A applications are generally processed by DOL and USCIS within 45-60 days, provided the employer has provided all required documents.


For how long is an H2A valid?

Employers may request H2A laborers for 10 months or less, depending on the employer’s seasonal need. 


What are the wage requirements?

Wage requirements are set by DOL and vary from state to state.  Southern Impact will provide you with wage information for your area.


Are H2A workers subject to taxation?

H2A workers are exempt from US Social Security and Medicare taxes. In addition, payments made to H2A alien agricultural workers are not considered to be "wages" for the purpose of Federal income tax withholding. The employer must, however, issue a Form W-2 if the amount paid to the H2A worker during the calendar year equals or exceeds $600.

For more information, please click here.


Can my H2A workers work for other employers?

No, H2A workers are issued an H2A visa that is employer specific for a set period of time. It is not valid for any other employment.


What are the employer's requirements to employ H2A workers?


The employer is required to open a job order with their local State Workforce Agency in an attempt to recruit US workers who are able, willing, and qualified to perform the job. DOL will also post the employer’s job opening online. Employers must cooperate with the State Workforce Agency in the referral of US workers and consider those who apply as a result of the recruitment efforts.  


The employer must provide free housing to both H2A and domestic workers who are not reasonably able to return to their residences that same day. Such housing must be inspected and approved by the State Workforce Agency prior to DOL approval.



The employer must provide free and convenient cooking facilities to workers so they may prepare their own meals OR provide three meals per day to workers. If the employer elects to provide three meals per day to workers, he may charge workers the current daily subsistence rate for meals.



The employer must pay the worker for the most economical costs incurred by the worker from the place of recruitment to the place of employment when one-half of the work contract is complete. Upon completion of the entire contract, the employer shall pay for the worker's transportation and daily subsistence from the place of employment to the place from which the worker came. The employer must also provide free transportation between the provided housing and the worksite.

Note: FLSA regulations may apply separate from H2A regulations for qualifying employers. 

Worker's Compensation Insurance

The employer must provide worker's compensation insurance where required by state law. If not required by state, the employer must provide equivalent insurance to workers.


Tools & Supplies

The employer must provide the tools necessary to perform the job duties at no cost to the workers.



Three-fourths Guarantee

The employer must guarantee employment for at least three-fourths of the workdays in the work contract.

Social Security Numbers 

After H2A workers arrive in the US, they must apply for a Social Security Number by providing their passport, I-94, and work visa to the local Social Security office.


The employer must pay for or reimburse the worker (in the first workweek) for all Embassy appointment fees, visa processing fees, border crossing fees, and other related fees incurred by the H2A worker, passport fees excluded. Employers may not seek payment or reimbursement of any kind from H2A workers for fees associated with obtaining H2A certification. Employers must also pay all fees associated in obtaining driver’s licenses, CDL’s, or any other certifications required to perform the job duties for which H2A workers are hired. Additionally, employers must contractually forbid agents, both domestic and foreign, from collecting fees for any activity related to the H2A program.


Earning Records

Employers must keep accurate and adequate earning records and must furnish to the worker, on or before each payday, a written statement. Pay records and pay stubs must meet DOL requirements.

**This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of H2A requirements. Other conditions apply and may vary depending on the nature of the employer’s business.  The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this website are for general informational purposes only. No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website and we disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law. Southern Impact is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice relating to the foreign labor program. An attorney should be contacted for advice on any legal issues.

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