The challenge to find and retain green industry employees has been an ongoing concern. If you have experienced this at your own company, you’re not alone. Almost three-quarters (73%) of landscape and irrigation contractors have struggled to hire enough labor to keep pace with their projects.
Finding help should get easier in 2023. For the first time ever, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will release the maximum number of supplemental H-2B visas. In October, DHS announced the release of an additional 65,000 H-2B visas for seasonal workers.
According to the DHS announcement:
- 20,000 visas are reserved for nationals of Haiti and the Northern Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
- 44,716 supplemental visas will be available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa or were otherwise granted H-2B status during one of the last three fiscal years.
If you’re planning to seek workers through an H-2B visa, be prepared to:
- Show that the need for H-2B labor is temporary, such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal need, or intermittent need.
- Certify in your application that not enough U.S. workers are able, willing, qualified, and available to perform the temporary work to install your landscape projects, necessitating the need for foreign labor.
- Attest that employing H-2B workers will not adversely impact similarly employed U.S. workers' wages and working conditions.
In addition to requiring employers to meet the three parameters above, DHS is drafting new policies to strengthen worker protections. As newly proposed rulemaking related to the H-2 programs is released, we will keep you informed. You can find additional details through the links below.
- For eligibility, filing requirements, and worker protections, visit the H-2B Program page on DHS’ website.
- For more information about the effect on the green industry, learn more on the National Association of Landscape Professionals' website.