Emergency Relief for H-2A Worker Certification
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Emergency Relief for H-2A Worker Certification

All the days before an agricultural season starts can be days open for hiring. Officials that give H-2A employers their certification they need to hire foreign H-2A workers to work in the U.S. temporarily will waive the time limit for filing for the temporary labor certification. The time limit is not rigid.

Employers hiring an H-2A temporary foreign worker to do agricultural work do not have to end up empty handed when an emergency situation happens that stops the employer from getting the labor certifications done on time. The certifying officer at the state workforce agency in the employment area can wait on a decision on certification.

Any employer can request a waiver that takes away the need to file before the final time to file.

Working Out The H-2A Hiring

Not all employers can know the work coming up in the agricultural season well enough to know exactly the workers to ask for. Filing for a temporary labor certification is usually done within a short time before the foreign H-2A worker needs to start productive work. Employers are not allowed by the federal regulations to file later than 45 days before the date they need work. But, unexpected hold ups in adding up the work days needed for a hire in a job can delay filing. Any hold up deciding the job that has to get done can make an employer have to file too late. In emergency situations, however, they can ask for a waiver on the final day to file.

A Drag During The Labor Season

A certifying officer will grant a waiver when an employer's labor hold up was unforeseen. Productive workers typically can be counted on to take a job. But, not every labor season will be filled with workers ready to join work. Labor supply can drop off, or just come too short. Employers do not have to stop being choosy to get a temporary labor certification on time. But, they do have to take the time to look for the right foreign worker to do the job when the labor need can not be handled by any worker in the labor market they knew. Taking action at the last opportunity before the season starts can end with the right labor find.

Hiring In A Pinch

The filing time limit can be set aside the first time an employer hires foreign agricultural workers for a season's work. Waivers are handed out to employers that did not use H-2A workers during the last agricultural season. Turning to the foreign labor market to find a worker to depend on during an upcoming season is a trusted decision.

Hiring Against The Grain

When there are too few U.S. workers to hire, the need to hire a foreign worker can come up just at the last moment, or at least too late to plan hiring well. Certifying officers will learn the current labor market conditions before granting a waiver. When there is a need for an employer to call in a worker from a foreign country to do the work, an employer can count on getting a waiver.


Electronic Code of Federal Regulations Title 20, Part 655 on September 7, 2012.

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