U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a policy memorandum that calls for foreign workers seeking temporary jobs in the US as H-2A nonimmigrant sheep/goat herders be subject to the same requirements as other temporary agricultural workers.
USCIS says the policy memo “will assist in safeguarding the integrity of the H-2A program, which was intended for agricultural labor or services that are temporary or seasonal in nature. “
“Adjudicating the temporariness and seasonality of H-2A sheep/goat herder petitions with the same criteria as other H-2A petitions will also support consistency and fairness while protecting the interests of U.S. workers (for example, their wages and job opportunities),” adds USCIS.
To qualify for a H-2A visa as a goat/sheep herder, an applicant must posses at least 1-3 months experience “sheepherders or in similar occupations involving the range tending and production of livestock.”
The job description of a H-2A goat/sheep herder from the Department of Labor is defined this way:
“Attends sheep and/or goat flock grazing on range or pasture: Herds flock and rounds up strays using trained dogs. Beds down flock near evening campsite. Guards flock from predatory animals and from eating poisonous plants. May examine animals for signs of illness and administer vaccines, medications and insecticides according to instructions.May assist in lambing, docking and shearing. May feed animals supplementary feed.May perform other farm or ranch chores related to the production and husbandry of sheep and/or goats on an incidental basis.”
The H-2A program allows US employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring in foreign nationals to the US to fill temporary/seasonal agricultural jobs. The employer must demonstrate that there are not enough US workers “able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.” The employer must also demonstrate that the H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions to similarly employed U.S. workers.