|Foreign Labor Certification|
H-2A Electronic Filing via iCERT Portal System Now Available
The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. Employment is of a seasonal nature where it is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern, such as a short annual growing cycle, and requires labor levels above what is necessary for ongoing operations. Employment is of a temporary nature when the employer's need to fill the position with a temporary worker will, except in extraordinary circumstances, last no longer than 1 year.
The Department must determine that:
- there are not sufficient able, willing, and qualified U.S. workers available to perform the temporary and seasonal agricultural employment for which nonimmigrant foreign workers are being requested; and
- employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The statute and Departmental regulations provide numerous worker protections and employer requirements with respect to wages and working conditions. The Department's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has responsibility for enforcing provisions of worker contracts.
Detailed Program Description available here.
Prior to filing a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- A job offer (ETA Form 790) must be filed with the State Workforce Agency (SWA) in the area of intended employment between 60 and 75 days before the date of need for workers.
- An application package including the ETA Form 9142A and accepted Job Order (ETA Form 790) from the SWA and attachments along with any other supporting documentation must be filed with the Chicago NPC no less than 45 days prior to the employer's date of need.
- Agricultural and Food Processing Clearance Order (ETA Form 790);
- Application for Temporary Employment Certification and Appendix A; (ETA Form 9142A)
- Attachments as appropriate to supplement information requested on the above forms; and
- Additional documentation for H-2A Labor Contractors.
The ETA Form 790 must be filed with the SWA serving the area of intended employment. The list of SWAs can be found here.
The H-2A Application package which includes the ETA Form 9142A, the ETA Form 790, all applicable attachments and any other additional information must be filed with the Chicago NPC.
Employers may now submit their H-2A application either electronically OR via mail directly to the Chicago National Processing Center (NPC). The employer must choose only one method of submission. Duplicate applications, where the employer or authorized representative files electronically and submits that same application via U.S. mail, will be rejected.
- Electronic Filing:
Employers may submit their H-2A application electronically via the Department's iCERT Visa Portal System. It is important to read the H-2A iCert Quick Start Guide and H-2A iCERT User Manual before completing and submitting an H-2A application. The online help provides step-by-step instructions for completing and submitting the H-2A application electronically. For more resources and information, please visit the iCERT implementation web page at http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/h2ah2b_icert_rollout.cfm
- Mail Filing:
The employer may mail the application package to the Chicago NPC at the following address:
U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Foreign Labor Certification
Chicago National Processing Center
11 West Quincy Court
Chicago, IL 60604-2105
Attention: H-2A Program Unit
The Chicago NPC will promptly review the application. Within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the application, the Chicago NPC will notify the employer in writing of the decision to accept or reject the employer's application. The notification will also provide next steps for the employer to take. Copies of the notification will be sent to the employer and, if applicable, the employer's attorney or agent by means normally assuring next day delivery. If the application is accepted or amended within the required time frame and complies with the regulations, the Chicago NPC will make a final determination thirty (30) calendar days prior to the employer's date of need.