While Congress took action to raise the quota for H-2B visas in late March, many contractors are deeply worried that the changes come too late for 2018. The US departments of Labor and Homeland Security must still process thousands of applications before the season hits.
In February, over 144,000 visa requests had been filed for 66,000 slots. The March changes raised the cap to 129,547. This change will be helpful to businesses needing summer workers, but does not address immediate needs for spring labor. Landscapers are now realizing they’re competing with other firms of all types for a finite labor source.
Many contractors are taking action to amplify their recruiting efforts for both seasonal workers and crew leaders. Here are some of the things landscapers are trying to attract employees:
- Advertising on Facebook Classificado (Spanish-language classifieds) and in local Spanish-language newspapers.
- Paying recruiting bonuses to existing employees who find new team members, with additional bonuses for employees who stay longer than 3 months.
- Using local staffing agencies to source background-checked employees.
- Leveraging posts on social media including Facebook and Instagram.
- Pursuing summer interns from horticulture, agriculture and vocational training programs.
- Using job boards for recent military veterans including helmetstohardhats.org