H-2A Myths Pt 1

H-2A Myths Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, this is today’s Fruit Grower Report. Whether in Olympia or other urban parts of our state, there seems to be a big misunderstanding or ignorance of what the H-2A guestworker visa program is and how it works.

Pam Lewison, the Washington Policy Center’s Ag Director, says many believe H-2A workers take jobs that would otherwise be filled by locals, but the way H-2A works …

LEWISON … “You have to advertise for a minimum of 60-days ahead of your first date of hire, and effectively prove to the U.S. Department of Labor that there is a labor shortage in your area, as in, there are no people who are able-bodied, have the ability or the desire to work for you.”

Then, Lewison says, if you make your case, you can apply for H-2A workers … with stipulations …

LEWISON … “For 50% of that contract, so however long they’re here. If they are here for 6 months, for 3 months after your H-2A workers arrive, you have to give preference to local hires.”

Which means …

LEWISON … “So, if you have 50 H-2A workers and 50 people from town show up at some point during that first three months, you must sit your H-2A workers out and hire the local 50 people while still paying the 50 H-2A workers.”

And, Lewison says paying for their housing, transportation, medical-dental, and other necessities. Tune in tomorrow for more on H-2A myths.

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