PLANET (landscape industry association) says many of its members have been reporting H-2B processing delays. Now there are signs that the H-2B cap for the first half of fiscal 2014 could be on the verge of being met. Therefore, landscaping companies applying for H-2B workers with a start date during March that have petitions still pending could be impacted by the cap.
The cap for the first half of the year is 33,000 visas. To reach that number, as a result of inevitable withdrawals and denials, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says it will take 41,000 target beneficiaries. In past years, that number was much higher; 44,000 in 2013, 45,000 in 2012, and 47,000 in both 2011 and 2010. This is interesting because demand for seasonal labor in this industry is as high as it has been in the past several years.
PLANET urges landscape companies looking to use the H-2B system to contact their senators and members of Congress at 202-225-3121 and ask them to encourage the DHS to increase the H-2B target beneficiaries to 47,000, which is the target number that the DHS has used for several years.
H-2B is a guest worker visa program that allows seasonal industries to hire immigrant guest workers. Landscaping is one of the primary industries to use the H-2B program.