Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

H2-A Research Project

Main content start

Welcome to our webpage on the research project on H2-A workers coming from Mexico to work in Oregon and Washington states, led by Professors Melanie Morten and Beatriz Magaloni, both at Stanford University.

Project Overview

village in a valley in Mexico

The project aims to analyze the impact of guest worker programs on the economic well-being of H2-A workers and their households. The H2-A program is a guest worker program that allows employers in the United States to hire foreign agricultural workers temporarily. The program is designed to help fill labor shortages in the agricultural sector and has been in place since the 1950s.

Our study will collect surveys from recruited workers before leaving for the US and after they arrive back home. We will also survey another household member (preferably a wife or mother) while the workers are away. The surveys will ask questions about material well-being, wages, working conditions, and their overall experiences in the US to measure how increases in household income help alleviate poverty and improve household health, investments, and educational opportunities.


To conduct this research, we are partnering with a reputable non-profit organization in Mexico called Redes Sociales para el Desarrollo (REDDES), a non-profit organization that aims to promote human development and capital in Mexico. Our partner in the US is wafla, a farmer's association in the states of Washington and Oregon.

A survey company called DATA OPM will come to previously selected villages and ask some questions to men heads of households ages 18 to 59 about their interest in temporarily migrating to the US with an H2-A visa to work on a farm in Oregon or Washington states, USA. We will ask potential recruits if they have a passport or are willing to invest in obtaining one.

Potential workers will be invited to participate in a recruitment event that REDDES will hold. In the event, information will be provided about the H2-A visas and the necessary steps to be hired by a farmer in the US. Workers who meet the selection criteria will then be part of a pool of workers eligible to receive a contract when one becomes available.

Data Collection

The data collection will be conducted by a survey company called DATA OPM, which will be hired by Stanford professors to conduct the interviews. The surveys will be conducted in person or over the phone. The surveys will take approximately 40 minutes to complete.

Privacy and Confidentiality

All data collected during the study will be kept confidential and anonymous. We will not share your personal information with anyone outside the research team. The data collected will be used for research purposes only and will be stored securely.


The findings of this study will provide valuable insights into the potential of guest worker programs as tools for reducing poverty and improving the economic well-being of workers. This could encourage policymakers to expand the program or create similar programs in other sectors.

The study could also provide insights into how to improve the working conditions of guest workers. For example, it could identify areas where guest workers are particularly vulnerable and suggest ways to address these vulnerabilities.

Overall, the implications of a study analyzing H2-A workers and the impact of guest worker programs on poverty alleviation and well-being could be far-reaching, influencing policy decisions and shaping the future of guest worker programs in the United States and potentially other countries.


If you have any questions about this study or would like to participate, please contact Isabel Mejia (

Thank you for your interest in our research project on working conditions in rural communities in Mexico.