According to the newest Dept. of Labor statistics the number of H-2A visas granted in FY17 increased by 20% from last year. The DOL approved 200,049 H-2A visas in FY17 compared to 165,741 in FY16.
“It’s the kind of growth we expected,” said Frank Gasperini Jr., executive vice president of the National Council for Agricultural Employers in Washington, D.C. The number of authorized H-2A visas have consistently increased from 18-20% each year over the last several years. According to DOL records 139,832 H-2A visas were approved in FY15, 116,689 in FY14, and 98,821 in FY13.
Currently H-2A foreign workers make up around 10% of the nation’s total 2 million seasonal ag workers. “That’s more than doubled in the last five years,” Gasperini said.
The H-2A visa is an unlimited visa program designed specifically for temporary agricultural field workers to help harvest and maintain crops. The visa usually expires in 8 months or less and the employer must provide housing as well as a wage set by the Dept. of Labor, but the worker is only allowed to work for that employer.
Many employers say they hire H-2A workers because it is easier and cheaper than negotiating wages with American workers.
As the Trump administration continues to increase immigration enforcement the number of H-2A visas is expected to continue to increase as employers rely more on legal workers.
Read more on this story at Capital Press.
Updated: Thu, Nov 30th 2017 @ 10:45am EST