U.S. farmers who wish to hire temporary foreign workers through the H-2A visa program typically work with a third party (such as an agent, association, or attorney) to make the application; employers themselves applied for only 15% of all jobs applied for. In the United States, agents filed applications for 45% of all H-2A jobs, an agricultural business association filed applications for 21% of jobs, and 19% came from an attorney representing the farmer. However, usage rates for third parties differ from state to state. For example, attorneys tend to file for most jobs in California, while agents and associations account for nearly two-thirds of job filings in Florida. The H-2A program allows farm operators who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to temporarily bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the United States to perform agricultural labor or services. Many employers rely on specialized third parties to file H-2A petitions on their behalf due to the perceived complexity of the process to certify their labor need. Once a job is certified, the employer can then search for workers to hire. This chart appears in the ERS economics newsletter, The H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker Program in 2020, published August 2022.
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