Hiring Overseas Farmhands: How to Find the Right Employees

Hiring seasonal workers is a common practice in the US agricultural industry. With a larger percentage of American workers choosing higher-paid, less labor-intensive work, there is often a shortage of workers for farms. Foreign nationals can be a great way to bolster your workforce.

You should ensure you choose the best candidates for the roles. If you haven’t hired overseas seasonal workers before, then ensure you understand the process thoroughly and comply with US immigration laws.  

Consider The Costs Of Hiring Overseas Farmhands 

Bringing employees from overseas can come with additional costs. Consider visa costs and whether you need to offer relocation and travel expenses to workers.  

Offer High-Quality Accommodation 

Provide overseas workers with high-quality accommodation on your farm for the duration of their stay. Provide clean, ventilated living spaces with beds, bedding, and space for personal belongings. Ensure access to running water and hygienic, appropriate toilet and bathing spaces. Ensure the housing you provide complies with OSHA regulations.  

Review Candidate Experience 

Choose candidates that have experience with the type of work you require. Ensure they have the physical strength and stamina to complete work safely and efficiently. Choose candidates that have at least two years of experience.  

Choose Employees That Are Eligible For H-2A Visas 

H-2A visas are temporary visas for seasonal agricultural workers. They are designed for farmers to help fill employment gaps during busy seasons. Ensure you fulfil the criteria for bringing overseas employees to your business. Find out more about the H-2A visa and how to navigate the process with immigration law experts Farmer Law.  

Provide Fair Wages 

Providing fair wages will attract the most talented individuals to your business and boost your reputation as an ethical farmer. Consider the typical wages for the type of work you’re advertising for. Offer bonuses to seasonal employees as an additional incentive.  

Check Candidate References 

Verify overseas references wherever you can. Ask for at least two references and contact the employers by phone or email. Ask how long the employee worked for the business, their work ethic, and what type of business they run.  

Find A Reliable International Recruiter 

Use an international recruiter to help you advertise in foreign countries and save time sifting through applications. Ask other local businesses for recommendations on which recruiter to choose. Ensure they have experience hiring people in your industry.  

Hire Back Previous Workers 

Reach out to workers you found particularly reliable to offer them work again. Do this each year to build a good working relationship with employees and cut down on training time and costs. Stay in contact throughout the offseason and ensure they know you want them to return.  

Ask Reliable Workers For Referrals 

Once you know your best workers, ask them to recommend anyone they know for future work. Ensure you work with them long enough to know that their opinion can be relied upon. 

If you follow the above advice and practices, you will have reliable workers to assist you on the farm for years to come. As my grandmother used to say, “treat others how you would wish to be treated and you’ll never go wrong.”

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