H-2Bs: An Economic Necessity for Some

Resorts, landscapers and roofers are the types of Colorado businesses dependent upon seasonal foreign workers. The problem, these days, is that visas for these workers are extremely limited. Only a few of the employers who initiate the lengthy and expensive legal process of bringing these foreign workers to the United States are approved, and able, to hire the foreign workers they need because, by the time the workers are ready to come to the U.S., no more visas are available. The fixed number of 66,000 H-2B visas available annually is grossly inadequate to satisfy the needs of seasonal employers in the United States.

But not all Americans perceive the cap on H-2B visas as a problem. As the economy continues to deteriorate, charges that foreign workers are displacing U.S. workers are increasing. Having met with, and represented, many employers who have applied for H-2B visas, I know that American workers are not applying for these labor-intensive, seasonal jobs. Seasonal employers must advertise the position for ten days in different media, and they must advertise at least the prevailing wage for the job. In many years of immigration practice, I have never known an employer who received more than a couple of inquiries from interested U.S. workers; and the norm is to hear nothing from any American.

The other common complaint about H-2B foreign workers is that they enter the U.S. and fail to leave, as legally required, when employment terminates. Those I know do leave; and they leave because they do not want to be barred from entering the U.S. in the future, as would be the case if they overstayed. Likewise, H-2B employers encourage the workers to leave as required, so that they are not prohibited from using the H-2B program in the future.

The H-2B visa is important to seasonal employers, who need the assistance of foreign laborers in order to grow – and even to maintain – their businesses. Please consider helping these employers who are trying to comply with the law by contacting your Congressional representatives and requesting an increase in the number of H-2Bs issued annually.

This article should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult an immigration attorney for advice specific to your situation.