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H-2B Visa Crisis Might See Relief
Pending Approval from the Head of DHS


The H-2B visa worker shortage has been a point of contention for many landscape companies. They repeatedly cite a lack of American-born applicants as the reason for relying on the program.

A new spending bill approved by Congress, which would cover the remainder of 2018, may help solve the H-2B visa crisis.

The omnibus-spending bill is a $1.3 trillion measure, which includes a provision to increase the number of H-2B visas available and can potentially double the size of the program.

The head of the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, would determine the final amount.

However, the bill does specify that the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department must find "needs of American businesses cannot be satisfied in fiscal year 2018 with United States workers."

The same statement appeared in 2017's fiscal year bill, but the Department of Homeland Security only raised the cap by 15,000.

The number of Democrats and Republicans supporting an increase to the cap is growing; Virginia governor, Tim Kane, was among 10 Democrats to sign an open letter asking for the limit to be raised. Twenty-one Republicans also signed the letter.

Employers across the nation, and even the National Association of Landscape Professionals, have been advocating for a solution to the H-2B visa crisis. In February USCIS conducted a lottery to determine which businesses would receive their workers.

Some companies were left without any of the visas they requested, including CLIP Lawn Care, a landscape service company located in Maryland.

Dave Tucker, CLIP's owner, started the company in 2002 and began using the visa program to find workers, according to the Frederick News-Post.

Tucker didn't receive the visas he needed last year and faced troubles when the ads he posted didn't get a good response. He told the newspaper he began searching for employees at halfway houses, and after hiring 29 people only two stayed on.

Currently, the CLIP website has a notice posted to customers stating they are not accepting applications for lawn care services. Every service is listed as being "on hold at this time."

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November 22, 2019, 1:22 pm PDT

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