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H2-A visas in high demand

Texas farm owners may make use of the H-2A visa program to find workers. In the first quarter of 2018, demand for positions through this program was up 15 percent compared to the same period in 2017. There were 2,756 applications in that time with requests for a total of 33,830 positions. Of those positions, 32,084 were certified. Overall, demand has grown an average of 16 percent per year since 2012.

Requests for certified positions has increased 109 percent since 2013. Those who use the program must pay American and alien workers what is known as the Adverse Effect Wage Rate. Nationally, the average wage is now $12.20, which is a 13 percent increase from five years ago. However, wage increases over that time period have ranged from just 6 percent in Colorado to 23 percent in California.

As a general rule, immigration law dictates who can live and work in the United States. Those who are not in the country legally may be subject to deportation or other penalties. Even if a person is allowed to live in the country, he or she may not necessarily be able to work. Therefore, it may be necessary to consult with an attorney prior to seeking employment.

An attorney may be able to talk more about a person's ability to seek employment in the country and how it may be separate from his or her legal status. Individuals may be able to inquire as to what they may need to do to obtain a work permit. In some cases, agricultural employers may be able to ask for non-immigrant workers to do jobs on a farm or in a related capacity. Legal counsel may describe non-immigrant visas and the rights they may bestow.

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