Housing Requirements for H-2A Employers

September 13, 2021 | By Audrey Holtkamp*


H-2A employers must provide housing to the following employees:

  • H-2A workers
  • Domestic workers in corresponding employment that cannot reasonably return to their residence within the same day[1]
  • Families of workers (upon request) if it is the prevailing practice in the area of employment[2]
    • Prevailing practice means that 50 percent or more of employers in the area offer the benefit

Housing must be provided at no cost to those stated above. Employers may provide housing through rental or public accommodations; in which case they must pay all fees and charges directly to the housing management[3].

Applicability of Housing Standards

If the housing is not a rental or public accommodation, it is subject to ETA and OSHA housing standards.[4] ETA standards are found in 20 CFR Subpart E (§§ 654.404-654.417). OSHA standards are found in 29 CFR § 500.132. If the employer uses rental housing or public accommodations, state and local housing standards apply. If there are no state or local standards, OSHA housing standards apply[5]

General Housing Standards

Employer-provided housing must also meet the following standards, regardless of how it is provided. The housing must:

  • Contain free and convenient cooking facilities if employers do not provide three daily meals[6].
  • Be inspected by the State Workforce Agency if it is employer-provided but may also be inspected if the employer uses rental or public accommodations for housing. This inspection will likely take place when the employer submits their job order[7].
  • Be ready for occupancy 30 days prior to the date of need[8].


*2021 CALT intern

[1] 20 CFR § 655.1304 (d)(1)

[2] 20 CFR § 655.1304 (d)(5)

[3] 20 CFR § 655.122 (d)(4) and 20 CFR § 655.122 (d)(1)(ii)

[4] 20 CFR § 655.122 (d)(1)(i)

[5] 20 CFR § 655.122 (d)(1)(ii)

[6] 20 CFR 655.1304 (g)

[7] 20 CFR § 655.122 (d)(1)

[8] 20 CFR § 655.1304 (d)(6)(iii)