by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.
One of the biggest complaints from owners in the landscape contractor industry is the difficulty in finding and retaining a reliable workforce. Over the past few years, there has been high turnover as companies struggle to recruit and hold on to laborers. However, for employers who need to add to their workforce to bid on contracts or maintain their current ones, there is the option to bring workers from other countries to the United States for a temporary period of nine months out of the year. The H-2B visa permits US employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States for the purposes of filling temporary, non-agricultural jobs in the landscape industry.
Who Qualifies for H-2B Classification?
To qualify for H-2B nonimmigrant classification, the petitioner must establish that:
- There are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
- Employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
- Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary. The employer’s need is considered temporary if it falls under one of the following categories:
- One-time occurrence – A petitioner claiming a one-time occurrence must show that it has:
- An employment situation that is otherwise permanent, but a temporary event of short duration has created the need for a temporary worker; and that it has
- Not employed workers to perform the service or labor in the past, and will not need workers to perform the services or labor in the future;
2. Seasonal need– A petitioner claiming a seasonal need must show that the service or labor for which it seeks workers is:
- Traditionally tied to a season of the year by an event or pattern; and
- Of a recurring nature.