Landscaping Businesses Are Losing Money Because of U.S. Visa Policy

Landscaping Businesses Are Losing Money Because of U.S. Visa Policy

This year has been tough on Shayne Newman, the owner of the Connecticut-based landscaping company YardApes.

For the past two decades, Newman’s business has come to rely on help that comes via the H-2B visa program, which allows employers to hire foreign workers for seasonal, nonagricultural employment.

But this year, Newman was not able to secure the 15 H-2B visas he requested, leaving him short on workers and overly reliant on his full-time employees to pick up the slack. As a result, he says, his staff is working longer hours, the company’s sales volume has dropped and customer complaints have gone up. So far this season, YardApes lost a contract that accounted for about 10% of the business’ overall revenue.

“This has been the most challenging year that I’ve dealt with business-wise,” says Newman. “We’ve got all hands-on-deck and we’re doing what we can to get the fieldwork done, but it’s definitely been a challenge.”

Companies that rely on seasonal workers have found themselves in similarly tough spots this year because, for one, the economy is strong. Landscaping companies have been hit the hardest — they employ more H-2B visa holders than any other industry.

The federal government allots 66,000 H-2B visa slots every year that are given out semi-annually. In order to qualify for H-2B visas, employers must first attempt to hire American workers. But landscaping professionals say that because there are fewer out-of-work Americans willing and able to accept seasonal work in their industry, demand for foreign workers has increased.

Read more at Time Magazine >>

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