This article discusses USA visa options for landscaping jobs. If you are a US employer who seeks to bring foreign landscaping workers, you have two options.
One is a temporary work visa which allows you to bring a foreign worker for a period of 3 to 10 months. This option is called H-2B visa and is meant to fill landscaping positions on a temporary basis.
The other option for landscaping companies to hire personnel from abroad is to sponsor workers for permanent residency (green card) to come and work for them in the US on a permanent basis. This is done through the EB-3 unskilled worker program or EB-3 visa. Below we examine both options and their advantages and disadvantages.
H-2B Visa for Landscapers
H2B visa program allows US companies to fill positions by hiring employees from abroad on a seasonal, peak-load, intermittent or one-time occurrence temporary basis.
Employers must first obtain a temporary labor certification for the position from the US Department of Labor. That includes obtaining a prevailing wage determination (PWD), which states how much the foreign worker should be paid so not to undercut US workers. The application for temporary labor certification includes a statement of temporary need that must demonstrate how the position is temporary in nature.
In addition, the employer is required to advertise for the position on the DOL website for seasonal jobs and on the website of their local state workforce agency. The purpose of the advertisement is to show there are no willing and able US workers to fill the temporary position of landscaper.
The H-2B is officially capped at 66,000 visas per year. However, each year the US government makes additional visas available for workers from Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras as well as for returning H-2B visa workers. A returning H-2B visa worker is a foreign worker who held an H-2B in the past 3 years.
The H-2B visa is a good option to fill landscaping positions fast. It is most suitable for companies that either operate only during a certain season or experience a temporary high demand during certain months. The H-2B is not suitable for newly formed companies that do not have the history to show seasonal demand and for companies that rely on solely 1099 contractors instead of W-2 employees.
EB-3 Green Card for Landscapers
Unlike the H-2B, which is a temporary visa typically issued for only several months, the EB3 visa for unskilled workers allows for foreign workers, along with their immediate family members, to come and live in the US on a permanent basis.
In other words, with an EB3 visa the landscaping worker is getting permanent residency in the United States also known as a green card. The landscaping worker can bring their spouse and children under 21 and each obtain a green card.
The EB-3 visa can be used to sponsor workers who are present in the US with valid nonimmigrant status or workers who are located outside the US.
The EB3 Visa for unskilled worker is suitable for positions that require less than 2 years of training or experience, such as landscaper, and for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. The position for landscaper must not be of a temporary or seasonal nature to qualify for EB-3 visa.
The US employer must be offering the foreign worker a permanent full-time position. The US employer must be ready to cover most of the costs associated with the EB3 visa, including immigrant petition filling fees, attorney’s fees and expenses associated with the recruitment. The only costs the employer is not required to pay are those associated with the immigrant visa application (DS-260) or the adjustment of status.
The process involves obtaining permanent labor certification also known as PERM from the US Department of Labor (DOL). Just like the H-2B visa, the employer needs a prevailing wage determination from the DOL and then needs to recruit for the position in accordance with DOL guidelines.
After obtaining a PERM, the employer needs to file an immigrant petition with US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and show that it is able to pay the required wage by showing audited financial statements, tax returns, bank statements or other financial documents.
After approval of the immigrant petition, the employee can apply at their respective US consulate, if outside the US, by filling DS-260 immigrant visa application or by filling for adjustment of status, if lawfully present in the US.
In general, the EB-3 visa has the advantage that it is a permanent solution. The employer will be able to count on the foreign landscaping worker to work full-time year-round. However, the process takes considerably longer than for an H-2B visa. For example, just obtaining the prevailing wage from DOL takes 6 months for EB-3 visa while it takes 1 month for H-2B visa.
Altogether, the EB-3 visa can take a year and half to complete while the H-2B takes approximately 5-6 months to complete all application procedures.
The EB-3 visa is also more expensive both in terms of costs and attorney’s fees. That makes it suitable for landscaping companies who experience chronic labor shortages and need to fill permanent positions on a long-term basis.
Malescu Law can assist
If you are US landscaping company that seeks to fill either permanent or temporary landscaper positions with workers from abroad, contact us or book a consultation with us to start the process of addressing labor shortages.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers