H-2A Labor Program Amended

Josh McGillLabor, Regulation

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to amend H-2A temporary labor certification regulations to better protect agricultural workers and to update the application and certification process. The final rule becomes effective Nov. 14, 2022.


The H-2A program allows employers to address temporary labor needs by employing foreign agricultural workers when there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified and available, and when doing so will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers similarly employed in the United States. Florida is the leading user of H-2A with most of the state’s citrus harvested by H-2A workers.

The new rule includes the following elements:  

  • Improves safety and health protections for workers housed in rental or public accommodations
  • Streamlines and updates bond requirements for labor contractors to better hold them accountable and clarifies joint-employer status for employers and associations
  • Clarifies the housing certification process to allow state and local authorities to conduct housing inspections
  • Establishes explicit authority to debar attorneys and agents for their misconduct, independent of an employer’s violations
  • Makes electronic filing mandatory for most applications to improve employers’ processing efficiency
  • Modernizes the methodology and procedures for determining the prevailing wage to allow state workforce agencies to produce more prevailing wage findings. 

The changes in the final rule will also support the enforcement capabilities of the department’s Wage and Hour Division to address H-2A program fraud and abuse that undermines workers’ rights and hurts law-abiding employers. 

Throughout the United States, Wage and Hour Division violations of H-2A regulations and recovery of back wages have increased significantly over the past five years. In 2021, the Wage and Hour Division found H-2A violations in 358 cases and collected more than $5.8 million in back wages for more than 7,000 workers.

More information about H-2A rules and other worker protections enforced by the Wage and Hour Division is available from its toll-free helpline at 866-487-9243.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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