H-2A Work Visa (Temporary Agricultural Workers’ Visa)

H-2A Work Visa

The H-2A Work Visa temporary agricultural program establishes a means for agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to Italy to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.

The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to Italy to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.

H-2A Work Visa

Employment is seasonal, tied to a particular time of year by an event or pattern, such as a short annual growing cycle. It requires labor levels above what is necessary for ongoing operations. Employment is temporary when the employer’s need to fill the position with a temporary worker will, except in extraordinary circumstances, last no longer than one year.

About the H-2A Visa Program:

The H-2A Work Visa temporary agricultural workers program – often called the H-2A visa program – helps Italian farmers fill employment gaps by hiring workers from other countries.

Depending on the type of work you need, temporary or seasonal agricultural work can happen on farms, plantations, ranches, nurseries, ranges, greenhouses, orchards, or other similar locations.

Seasonal work is when you need more help than usual because the work is tied to a specific time of year by an event or pattern, like a short annual growing cycle. Temporary work lasts no longer than one year.
If you have been affected by a strike, work stoppage, or layoff within 60 days of when work will start, you may not qualify for the program.

To participate in the program, you’ll work with your State Workforce Agency to earnestly recruit Italy workers. The State Workforce Agency will publicly post your job order to recruit Italy workers. It would be best if you accepted eligible referrals of Italy workers who applied for the job and also contacted any former Italy employees at their last known contact address.

When a qualified Italy worker applies, you must employ them until 50 percent of the work period specified in the work contract has passed. After 50 percent, there is no continued affirmative obligation to hire.

What is Agricultural Work?

A farmworker, farmhand, or agricultural worker is someone employed for labor in agriculture. In labor law, the term “farmworker” is sometimes used more narrowly, applying only to a hired worker involved in agricultural production, including harvesting, but not to a worker in other on-farm jobs, such as picking fruit. Wikipedia

What is H2A Visa?

As we explained earlier, the H-2A Visa is a temporary agricultural program document that helps employers who anticipate a lack of available domestic workers to bring foreign workers to Italy to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work, including, but not limited to, planting, cultivating, or harvesting labor.

The Eligibility for an H-2A visa:

The H-2A visa beneficiaries are Italy farm employers and foreign employees. Any Italian farm owner who needs extra workers qualifies to initiate the H-2A visa process for foreign workers. They should fulfill the following criteria:

  • The job positions that they offer should be temporary and seasonal agricultural work
  • Show that Italy workers are not willing, qualified, able, or available to work in those positions.
  • Show that by hiring foreign workers, they will not negatively affect the wages and work conditions of Italy employees in the same sector
  • Have the necessary documents and petition approvals
    In addition to the employers, there are conditions for employees too. The conditions to be eligible for an H-2A visa as an employee are:
  • Find a job from an Italy employer who is offering temporary agricultural work
  • Prove that they intend to return to their home country after the visa expires.
  • Be of a specific nationality. Not all farm workers from all countries can come to Italy to work. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has determined the number of countries from which H-2A workers can be hired.

H2A Visa Requirements:

A. Criteria For Determining Employer’s Eligibility are as follows:
1. The following general categories of individuals or organizations may import foreign workers under the H-2A Work Visa:

a.An agricultural employer who anticipates a shortage of Italy workers needed to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature

b. The employer may be an individual proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. An association of agricultural producers may file as a sole employer, a joint employer with its members, or as an agent of its members

c. An authorized agent, whether an individual (e.g., an attorney) or an entity (e.g., an association), may apply on behalf of an employer. Associations may file master applications on behalf of their members

2. The employer must satisfy the following conditions to import foreign workers under the H2A visa:

a. Recruitment:

The employer must engage in the independent positive recruitment of Italy workers. This means an active effort, including newspaper and radio advertising in areas of expected labor supply. Such recruitment must be equivalent to that conducted by non-H2A agricultural employers to secure Italy workers

b. Wages:

The wage or rate of pay must be the same for Italy workers and H2A workers. The rate must also be at least as high as the applicable Adverse Effect Wage Rate or the applicable prevailing wage rate, whichever is higher

c. Housing:

The employer must provide free and approved housing to all workers who cannot return to their residences on the same day.

d. Meals:

The employer must provide either three meals a day to each worker or furnish free and convenient cooking and kitchen facilities for workers to prepare their meals. If meals are provided, the employer may charge each worker a certain amount per day for the three meals

e. Transportation:

The employer is responsible for the following different types of transportation of workers:

I. After a worker has completed 50 percent of the work contract period, the employer must reimburse the worker for the cost of transportation and subsistence from the place of recruitment to the place of work

ii. The employer must provide free transportation between any required housing site and the worksite for any worker who is eligible for such housing

iii. Upon completion of the work contract, the employer must pay return transportation or transportation to the next job

f. Workers’ Compensation Insurance:

The employer must provide Workers’ Compensation or equivalent insurance for all workers. Proof of insurance.

g. Tools and Supplies:

The employer must furnish at no cost to the seasonal agricultural workers all tools and supplies necessary to carry out the work unless it is common practice for the workers to provide certain items.

h. Three-fourths Guarantee:

The employer must guarantee to offer each worker employment for at least three-fourths of the workdays in the work contract period, and any extensions

I. Fifty percent rule:

The employer must employ any qualified Italy worker who applies for a job until 50 percent of the contract period has elapsed.

j. Labor Dispute:

The employer must ensure that the job opportunity for which the employer is requesting H-2A Work Visa certification is not vacant due to a strike or lockout.

k. Certification Fee:

A fee will be charged to an employer granted temporary alien agricultural labor certification

l. Other Conditions:

The employer must keep accurate records concerning a worker’s earnings. The worker must be provided with a complete statement of hours worked and related earnings on each payday. The employer must pay the worker at least twice monthly or more frequently if it is the prevailing practice. The employer must provide a copy of the work contract to each worker

B. Criteria For Determining Employee’s Eligibility are also here:

  • You are eligible for the H2A seasonal agricultural workers visa provided:
  • You have a valid job offer from an Italy employer to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work
    You intend to return to your home country on the visa’s expiration.

How and When to Apply:

Before filing a petition with Italy Citizenship and Immigration Services, employers must complete the following four steps in the H-2A Work VisaTemporary Labor Certification process through the FLAG online filing system.

Step 1: Filing a Job Order with the State Workforce Agency (SWA)

This involves preparing and submitting an agricultural job order to the SWA that serves the state where the work will be performed. The SWA will review the job order, work with you on any needed corrections, and initiate the recruitment of Italy workers.

When: 75 to 60 calendar days before the start date of work

Step 2: Filing an H-2A Application with Italy National Processing Center (NPC)

Submit an H-2A Work Visa application to Italy NPC. The Italy NPC will review your application, notify you of any deficiencies, and provide additional instructions for completing the temporary labor certification process.

When: No less than 45 calendar days before the start date of work

Step 3: Conducting Recruitment for Italian Workers.

The employer will conduct the recruitment of Italy workers and includes where and when to advertise, what content the advertisements must contain, and how to prepare your recruitment report.

When: Recruitment begins on the date you receive the Notice of Acceptance from Italy NPC until you complete the recruitment steps

Step 4: Completing the Temporary Labor Certification Process

The final step in this process identifies the additional documents you must submit to the Italy NPC to receive a final determination; and, should labor certification be granted, move on to the ICIS.

The Processing Period for H-2A visa:

Processing times vary for H-2A Work Visa since there is seasonality, and sometimes it might take longer. However, it is recommended for Italy employers to file ICIS petitions at least 60 days, but no more than 120 days before they need the foreign workers.

The Italy government takes priority in H-2A visas, so they expedite the process because agricultural work is seasonal.

The validation of the H-2A visa:

Since H-2A Work Visa are temporary for agricultural work, they are valid for one year. So after a year, the employee has to return to their country of origin. However, if they have not completed the work, and the employer needs them, or they find another employer, the H-2A visa can be extended.

Extensions are done in one-year increments, and the total time that an H-2A visa holder can stay in Italy is three years. This means that the H-2A visa can be extended two times. After these three years, the H-2A workers must return to their home country and stay there for an uninterrupted time of 3 months before they can apply for the visa again.

Conclusion:

The H-2A Work Visa is a temporary agricultural program Visa that brings out the requirements for a foreign applicant intending to do Agricultural jobs temporarily in Italy.

The article further discusses the meaning of an H-2A visa, the meaning of Agricultural work, the visa requirements, the visa processing days, and the visa’s duration.

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