Understanding and Avoiding Common H-2A Visa Violations

The H-2A visa program is an important tool used by U.S. farmers to hire foreign workers for seasonal agricultural work. The program was established to combat labor shortages in agricultural businesses that have been difficult to fill.  It is crucial that these employers understand all aspects of the H-2A visa program to avoid common mistakes and violations.

Understanding the H-2A Visa Program

The H-2A visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign individuals from certain countries to work temporarily in the United States to perform agricultural labor or services of a seasonal nature. To obtain an H-2A visa, employers must demonstrate that there are insufficient U.S. workers willing and able to perform the work they seek to fill through the H-2A program. Employers must also prove that the employment of foreign workers does not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

The Benefits of the H-2A Visa Program

The H-2A visa program offers many benefits to both U.S. farmers and the foreign workers who participate. The program provides farmers with access to a reliable, legal workforce during peak periods of agricultural production, and it allows foreign workers to earn a higher wage than they could in their home countries. Additionally, H-2A workers have access to employment-related benefits such as workers’ compensation and Social Security.

Understanding and Avoiding Common H-2A Visa Violations

Common Violations of the H-2A Visa Program

The most common violations of the H-2A visa program include failing to pay appropriate wages to workers, failing to provide transportation to and from the worker’s home country, failing to pay workers in a timely manner, failing to provide adequate housing and transportation, and failing to provide state-required workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, employers are prohibited from charging H-2A workers recruitment fees or requiring them to work without pay. The DOL actively investigates these possible violations, so it is important to ensure you are compliant throughout the entire time the candidate is employed by you. These violations can result in severe consequences for employers, including fines, penalties, and even loss of future H-2A visa approvals.

Tips on How to Avoid Violations

To prevent any violations of the H-2A visa program, it’s crucial for employers to complete all required steps and adhere to all its rules. The best way to navigate this process is by selecting an experienced third-party recruiter, such as AW Labor Solutions, with proven experience in H-2A visas. Besides this, employers must provide H-2A workers with proper housing, transportation, and fair pay. It’s also important to keep up with new regulations and seek legal advice as needed. See our full guide on how to ensure you stay compliant with the H-2A visa program.


In conclusion, the H-2A visa program is an essential tool that many farmers rely on, but it can be complicated to navigate. By understanding the principles of the H-2A visa program and avoiding common mistakes and violations, employers can rise to the top while recruiting the best workers and contributing to a better economy. If you want to use the H-2A visa program and need assistance, contact our team, which will provide dependable advice and guidance to help you succeed.


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