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Haitians Now Eligible For Special Agricultural and Seasonal Work Visa!


On November 10, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Haiti was added

to the lists of countries that are eligible to participate in H-2A Visa Programs next year. The H-

2A Visa Program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to work

agricultural or seasonal jobs. A U.S. employer, a U.S. agent or an association of U.S. agricultural

producers named as a joint employer, must file form I-129, and the Petition for a Nonimmigrant

Worker.


To qualify for the program, the petitioner must do the following; Offer a job that is of a

temporary or seasonal nature; Demonstrate that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able,

willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work; Show that employing H-2A workers

will not harmfully affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers,

and lastly, submit a single valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor

with the H-2A petition.


The following three steps describe the process for the H-2A program. First, the petitioner

submits the temporary labor certification application to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Before requesting H-2A classification from USCIS, the petitioner must apply for and receive a

temporary labor certification for H-2A workers from DOL. Next, the petitioner submits Form I-

129 to USCIS. With limited exceptions, the petitioner must submit the original temporary labor

certification as initial evidence with Form I-129. Lastly, prospective workers outside the United

States apply for visa and/or admission.


After the USCIS approves Form I-129, prospective H-2A workers who are outside the

United States must apply for an H-2a visa with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S.

Embassy or consulate abroad and then seek admission to the United States with U.S. Customers

and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry; or directly seek admission to the United

States in the H-2A classification with CBP at a U.S. port of entry, if a worker does not require a

visa where an H-2A visa is not required. An H-2A worker’s spouse and unmarried children

under the age of 21 may seek admission in H-4 nonimmigrant classification. Family members

are not eligible for employment in the United States while in the H-4 status.


When it comes to the period of stay authorized in the temporary labor certification, USCIS

may grant H-2A classification, and it may be extended for qualifying employment in increments

of up to 1 year each. A new, valid temporary labor certification covering the requested time must

accompany each extension request. The maximum period of stay in H-2A classification is 3

years. A person who has held H-2A nonimmigrant status for a total of 3 years must depart and

remain outside the United States for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before seeking

readmission as an H-2A nonimmigrant. If H-2A workers fail to report to work, or are terminated

within 5 days, they must notify the USCIS. Failure to notify the USCIC may be required to pay

damages for each instance of noncompliance.