Skip to content
  ETA Home / Office of Adult Services /  

Agricultural Recruitment System (ARS)


The Wagner-Peyser Act requires that the United States Employment Service maintain a system for the orderly movement of workers within and between States. The ARS helps agricultural employers recruit qualified workers on a temporary or seasonal basis. They provide protection to the workers who are not seeking permanent relocation, but rather temporary agricultural employment. The Wagner-Peyser Act provides authority for ARS. Key regulatory provisions can be found at 20 CFR 653.500 - 653.503. Through the ARS, the State Workforce Agencies can systematically recruit and refer qualified workers from within a State and from other States when there is an anticipated shortage of workers. These regulations provide the system for agricultural of food processing Clearance Orders which request workers for less than one year of employment. They are based on the Department's policy of requiring specific assurances and information in the Agricultural Clearance Orders

How the Process Works

Operational responsibilities for the program rest primarily with the State Workforce Agency (SWA). The following is a summary of how the system operates.

  • Employer determines need for workers.

  • Employers then place a job order at a local SWA.

  • Local SWAs prepare job order and recruits locally.

  • If labor needs are not met through a local job order, employer should be advised of the option to clear the order to other local offices within the State (Intrastate Clearance Order).

  • If labor needs are not met statewide, the SWA, with employer authorization, will submit the Intrastate Job Order to the U.S. DOL Employment and Training Administration, Regional Office for their review as an Interstate Clearance Order.

  • The ETA Regional office reviews and approves or disapproves the Interstate Clearance Order, and determines the areas of supply to which the order shall be extended if it is approved.

  • The SWA then sends the approved Clearance Order to ETA designated States where qualified workers may be available.

  • A valid Federal and State farm labor contractor registration is also required (if applicable). The local office must verify that the registration is valid for the current year.

What is Outreach?

Each State agency shall operate and outreach program in order to locate and to contact MSFWs who are not being reached by the normal intake activities conducted by the local offices. Each State Workforce Agency shall develop an annual outreach plan that sets forth numerical goals, policies and objectives. This plan should be subject to the approval of the Regional Administration as part of the program budget plans (PBP) plans. Where feasible, State agencies shall coordinate their outreach efforts with those of public and private community service agencies and MSFW groups.

List of factors guiding the extent of outreach:

  • Penetrate community enough so that a large number of MSFWS are aware of the full range of services available through local Employment Services offices.

  • Significant local offices should conduct especially vigorous outreach.

  • Supply States should conduct particularly thorough outreach with extensive follow-up during MSFW residence.

The Outreach plan should be based on the actual conditions which exist in that particular state, being sure to take into account State Workforce agencies history of providing outreach services, the estimated number of MSFWs in that State and the need for outreach services.