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H-2A Positions Increase Fivefold Since 2005

The number of H-2A workers increased fivefold between 2005 and 2019, according to a report from USDA.

Calling the data an indicator of the scarcity of farm labor, USDA’s Economic Research Service says the number of H-2A positions requested and approved increased from just over 48,000 in 2005 to nearly 258,000 in 2019.

The ERS says the average duration of an H-2A certification in 2019 was 5.3 months, implying that the 258,000 positions certified represented about 114,000 full-year workers.

The H-2A Temporary Agricultural Program provides a legal means to bring foreign-born workers into the United States on a temporary basis. Workers employed on an H-2A visa are allowed to remain in the U.S. for up to ten months at a time. Employers must demonstrate that efforts to recruit U.S. workers were not successful. Employers must also pay a region-specific minimum wage, known as the Adverse Effect Wage Rate.