Data recently released by the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification indicates that U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to demand an increasingly large number of foreign workers via the H-2A program. In the second quarter of fiscal 2018, DOL certified 80,348 H-2A positions nationally, up more than 16 percent from the second quarter of fiscal 2017 when DOL certified 68,999 positions. Even more impressive, Q2 2018 position certifications are more than 150 percent higher than the same period just five years ago.
Higher certifications in the second quarter follow the 15 percent year-on-year increase from the first quarter. When combined, the total number of positions certified in the first two quarters of 2018 exceed the total number of positions certified in all of 2013. If the total number of positions certified in the third and fourth quarters follow a similar growth path of 15.7 percent, the U.S. will have certified more than 231,000 positions in fiscal 2018. The previous record was set in fiscal 2017, when DOL certified 200,320 total positions.