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How is the H2-A Program different from the H2-B Program?

Updated: Aug 4, 2023


an H-2a visa work permit

The H2-A program and the H2-B program are both temporary worker programs that allow employers in the United States to hire foreign workers for seasonal or temporary non-agricultural jobs. However, there are several key differences between the two programs:


  1. Job categories: The H2-A program is specifically for agricultural jobs, while the H2-B program covers a broader range of non-agricultural jobs, such as construction, landscaping, hospitality, and food processing.

  2. Timing: The H2-A program is designed for seasonal or temporary agricultural work that is tied to a specific season, such as planting or harvesting. In contrast, the H2-B program is for non-agricultural work that is temporary in nature, but not necessarily tied to a particular season.

  3. Labor certification: Employers who want to hire H2-A workers must obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor, which verifies that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, and qualified to perform the job. This requirement is not present in the H2-B program.

  4. Numerical limitations: There is a cap on the number of H2-B visas that can be issued each year, while there is no cap on the number of H2-A visas that can be issued.

  5. Duration of stay: H2-A workers can stay in the United States for up to 10 months, while H2-B workers can stay for up to three years, with the option to renew for an additional three years.

  6. Wages: H2-A workers are guaranteed a minimum wage that is set by the Department of Labor, while H2-B workers are paid the prevailing wage for their job and location, which is determined by the Department of Labor.


It's important to note that both programs have specific requirements and regulations that must be followed, and employers who are interested in hiring foreign workers should consult with an attorney or other expert to ensure that they are in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. Learn more from Head Honchos.

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