Agricultural employers increasingly are turning to the foreign guest worker program, known as H-2A, as a means to secure a legal workforce. This paper outlines the procedural aspects and costs of recruiting and hiring H-2A workers. Cost data is from a 2014 survey of citrus harvesters and defines pre-employment costs as filing fees, advertising, surety bonds, travel, and housing. The pre-employment costs associated with guest workers are estimated to be nearly $ 2,000 per worker. The survey was motivated by the ‘60-minute rule’ imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor prior to the 2012-13 citrus harvesting season. Cost data were collected across two crop season, 2012-13 and 2013-14, to analyze the cost implications of the rule. We found that the 60-minute rule significantly increased filing fees. These fees, however, represent a very small share of total costs and overall pre-employment costs associated with the H-2A program did not significantly change.

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International Food and Agribusiness Management Review

International Food and Agribusiness Management Review

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Online ISSN: 1559-2448

Journal Impact IFAMR: 1.442

2020 CiteScore