The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers the H-2A visa program. Under this program, US agricultural employers can bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the United States to perform agricultural work of temporary or seasonal nature.
In this article, you will find an overview of the rights of an H-2A visa holder.
What Rights Do You Have as an H-2A Visa Holder? – The Essentials
As provided by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA), the employment of temporary foreign workers is only allowed as long as it does not adversely impact the employment of US workers.
The US Department of Labor has specific provisions to protect the rights of both foreign H-2A workers and US workers employed by H-2A employers. Both categories receive the same benefits whether they are from a foreign country or reside in the United States.
The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years) of an H-2A visa holder may be admitted to the United States under H-4 nonimmigrant status. While family members are not eligible for US employer while in H-4 status, they can personally qualify for a work visa.
Additionally, H-2A visa holders are entitled to specific housing and education benefits, such as public education for dependent children at no cost.
H-2A Visa Worker’s Rights – Fundamental Information
US employers must provide H-2A visa holders with accurate written information about all the key factors associated with the job, such as wage, working hours, working conditions, and employment benefits.
H-2A visa holders must receive all the necessary information no later than on the first day of work, written in a language understood by the worker. Among other information, US employers must disclose:
- The beginning and end dates of the contract period
- The location of work
- All significant conditions of employment (e.g., payment for transportation expenses incurred, housing, and meals)
- The specific days on which workers are not required to work
- The number of hours per day each worker is expected to work
- The activities to be performed
- The tools, supplies, and equipment to be provided by the employer
- Any worker’s compensation insurance to be provided at no charge
H-2A Visa Worker’s Rights – Wages
H-2A visa holders must have guaranteed employment for at least 75% of the total hours promised in the employment contract.
H-2A workers must be paid at least twice per month. The amount paid must meet the rate stated in the employment contract. Each worker must receive an itemized pay stub in writing, with a detailed statement of earnings for each pay period.
US employers must also provide written notice of all deductions made from the worker’s payment. Please note that these deductions must be reasonable, and any deduction not specified is not permissible.
H-2A Visa Worker’s Rights – Housing and Transportation
H-2A visa holders have the right to be provided housing and transportation. The housing facilities provided by employers must meet the applicable safety standards with convenient cooking and kitchen facilities.
Depending on the contract’s terms, US employers must provide or reimburse for reasonable costs associated with transportation and lodging.
Regulatory standards require that employer-provided transportation must meet the applicable safety standards, including adequate insurance and licensed drivers.
Do You Want to Protect Your Rights as an H-2A Visa Holder? – Immediately Contact Jurado & Associates, P.A.
A well-versed immigration attorney from Jurado & Associates, P.A. can help you protect your rights under H-2A status. Get in touch with us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] for expert legal guidance.