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View Full Version : H2B Visas - they're sold out


DFW Area Landscaper
12-15-2004, 08:54 AM
I spoke with an H2B recruiter on the phone yesterday. The government only issues 66,000 H2B visas per year. They ran out of the allotment this year on March 9th.

As for next year, the recruiter expects the allotment to run out much faster.

He also said that it usually takes 120 days to get a worker here from the time the procedure is started. He says we can start the procedure for '05 right now. But the earliest I should expect to have workers here would be mid-April, and that's if we start today. Much too late for me, really. That would require me to train one crew in February then lay them off and re-train another set of folks when the H2B workers arrive two months later. And for this I can expect to pay about $4,400.00.

But here's the real kicker...if I want to move forward with the visa applications, I have to pay 1/2 of his fees up front, which are non-refundable. If we are told there are no more available, which he thinks is what will happen, I'll still be out for the half of his fees that I've already paid. Being that most folks have already started their '05 visa applications, I'd guess the 66,000 visas are already spoken for.

I just want to know what all of my competitors are doing? I'd guess 95% of the crews I see around here are hispanic.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Mowingman
12-15-2004, 09:25 AM
I have two Hispanic workers. Both have temporary work permits, and have been working here in the USA for 5 years. They go home every winter, and then come back in the spring. Most of my competitors, and probably yours, hire their help at the "day labor corner". Then they keep the ones who work well for the whole season. I believe that for the most part, only the large lawn care companies hire legal. The INS is so overwelmed in this area that the chance they will check on "Joe the Mower" to see if his help is legal, is slim to none.
I pay both of my guys way above what other lawn care companies pay, as I would have a heck of a time replacing them with other legal workers.

bsmithalc
12-15-2004, 10:24 AM
we had the same problem. We were going to go with the H2-B program until we found out we would have to pay half and then there were no guarantees that we would get any workers. So, if you like to gamble for '05 go for it, but we didn't want to waste $2,000 bucks on a gamble. Looks like we'll have to do what we did all last year, struggle through the season with labor that we can get around here and wait until '06.

DFW Area Landscaper
12-15-2004, 10:53 AM
++++Looks like we'll have to do what we did all last year, struggle through the season with labor that we can get around here and wait until '06++++

Things won't be any different in '06 unless they increase the cap to well beyond 66,000. I can't believe this wasn't even a campaign issue during the elections. I remember hearing Bush answer the only question on this topic with some garbly-goop about 'matching a willing employer with a willing worker'. Malarky! Why is the paper work so confusing that a "willing employer" has to fork over thousands of dollars to a firm that knows how to file the paperwork.

There are tens of millions of undocumented workers in our country, yet only 66,000 visas available?

I guess we'll have to "struggle through the season with labor we can get" this year, but finding those guys with valid drivers licenses is hard to do...nearly impossible.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

out4now
12-15-2004, 11:06 AM
Almost all the crews here are hispanic. The crews all go down to Home Depots early in the morning and pick up day laborers (predominately illegals) and non one does anything about it. INS could drive by and see them and would still do nothing. Get this, here they even built them a shaded building because it gets hot in the summer so they can get shade and water. Very controversial. Surrounding businesses helped pay for it because they were driving away customers. Everytime a pick-up drove into a neighboring business they'd jump in the bed trying to get work.

DFW Area Landscaper
12-15-2004, 11:25 AM
Today, the IRS has a voluntary phone system that an employer can call to verify that a new hire's social security number matches the name.

With the number of undocumented workers in our country in the millions, why doesn't the IRS require employers to call that number and get some sort of authorization number?

I'm telling you right now, if they were to require that, our economy would nose dive almost overnight...at least here in north Texas. From fast food, to dry cleaning to road construction...you name the undesirable work and I guarantee the laborors are predominantly hispanic, more often than not, employed under a false social security card.

It's real easy to find willing workers who have real looking social security cards and picture ID's, but finding them with valid driver's licences is tough. The Texas Dept of Safety used to allow anyone fresh from Mexico to get a state issued ID card. Then if the guy could pass the driver's test, he could simply upgrade his ID card to a real driver's license. But starting about five years ago, the State of Texas stopped issuing ID cards to people who could not produce a social security card. This kept most of the hispanics with fake social security cards out of the driver's license office. Then, about 10 months ago, the state of Texas actually started verifying that the social security number matched with the name.

Long story short, I think the licensed drivers in Texas who are willing to do this kind of work will soon be able to dictate their own rate of pay as the laws of supply and demand become more evident.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

AintNoFun
12-15-2004, 12:38 PM
i was told by a few cops and an fbi agent i know that INS does not care about mexicans anymore. If they don't have an arabic sounding name they are told to make an appointment at the INS office and get it straightened out. A trooper friend of mine nailed an illegal with a couple pounds of weed, they called INS. INS said have the immigrant give us a call and come see us. Think he did? yea right....

walker-talker
12-15-2004, 01:35 PM
With as many illegal Hispanic immigrants that we have in this country, it would very difficult for INS to stay on top of it. There is only so much that a company has to do to check the paper or citizenship of it's employees. I work for a major corporation that started hiring illegals. At first, not knowing there were illegal. Then later finding out that they were. All they had to do is send this individual a letter stating that their numbers did not match and they were suppose to contact a certain federal department they need to get the situation corrected. By sending this letter to them (actually I think they had to sign like a wavier before they could receive their check) relieved them of any and all liabilities. Later the corporation hired and gung ho lawyer that wanted to do some more background checking. They ended up firing a couple of the Hispanics. With more background checks he (the new lawyer) discovered that 99% of the Hispanics were illegal...which happened to make up about 30% of our workforce. With this new information they realized that we would be a devastating blow to out workforce, so they called a professional INS lawyer to help with the situation. The INS lawyer told them they opened a can or worms that should of and did not have to be opened. They were advised to let them all go so that there would not be any discriminatory law suits filed against them. This all happened conveniently around the time of a seasonal layoff, so that lessoned the blow. The following year passed by and we (on 3rd shift) needed to hire about 40 people. Over a period of 8 months we went through 323 people and never did get 40 people worth keeping....then layoffs a came again. Last year it came again. We needed about 40 people again. Did a little better, only went through 303 temporaries and never received the 40 target employees. As a manager, I can't tell you how much I miss those Hispanics. You have no idea!!!

Keep in mind that I would of the production side of the company and I do not work in the office. What I just stated was "through the grapevine" (my supervisor mostly). I have no reason to believe that this was not true. I actually heard also that at the time the layoffs, some disgruntal employees made phone calls to upper management because they were being laid off and the illegal mexicans were not. The company recently implemented a program that laid people off based on their performance and not their seniority, as it had been in previous years. I have every reason all this is true.

What I will do when it comes time to hire....I will cover my butt doing what I have to do, but I will not open any cans of worms that need not to be opened.

Your conscious...your business.

Matt

DFW Area Landscaper
12-15-2004, 01:41 PM
I could care less about a bust by INS (which I think has been re-named dept of Homeland Security). It's obvious to me that if the government were really concerned about illegal Mexicans being here, they could send the paddy wagon to every (restaurant, dry cleaners, road construction crew, home construction crew, roofing crew, etc) in town and round them up and deport them. Not worried about something like that at all.

What I am worried about is a valid drivers license. Insurance companies won't insure unlicensed drivers.

In Texas, you gotta have a valid social security number to get a driver's license. And therein lies the conundrum.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

walker-talker
12-15-2004, 01:42 PM
DFW Area Landscaper, how many employees did that $4400 buy?

walker-talker
12-15-2004, 01:45 PM
What I am worried about is a valid drivers license. Insurance companies won't insure unlicensed drivers.

In Texas, you gotta have a valid social security number to get a driver's license. And therein lies the conundrum.

Later,
DFW Area LandscaperThrough talking with the illegals, a DL is very hard to get, but for enough money it can be accomplished.

PTP
12-15-2004, 01:53 PM
Well, I am kind of on both sides of this one. I can see how it would be wrong fo an employer to hire someone that is illegal but on the other hand it seems wrong to me the way the INS handles everything. I am an immigrant from Canada so I have a general idea what I am talking about when I refer to the INS.

A while back, the INS found a bunch of illegals here in Tulsa. They did absolutly nothing about it. They were simply turned loose. Now,what am I supposed to do when one of them asks me for a job? The government has essentially said "You can stay here but you can't work here." It is a joke.

The way I see it, if I live in a place where the speed limit is 55 but everyone is driving 90, I am going to drive 90 too. It is not my job to slow down the entire interstate. The way I see it, if the government does nothing about it, then I will not worry too much about it either.

DFW Area Landscaper
12-15-2004, 02:18 PM
++++The way I see it, if I live in a place where the speed limit is 55 but everyone is driving 90, I am going to drive 90 too.++++

It is very different when the other guy who is speeding isn't costing you any money. Kind of like, "Oh well. I'll just stay in the right lane and ensure I don't get a ticket."

But when your in business and your competitors are bending the law, if you don't bend, you might break.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

mbella
12-15-2004, 02:44 PM
The cap has been exceeded before. This just happened to be the first year that INS decided to enforce it. One problem I see is the padding of visas. I will explain.

Many companies that provide H2B workers offer a set rate for the first ten workers. If you want 2 or you want 10, you pay the same rate. What some companies do is request the full 10 visas even if they only need two or three workers. What this does is protect them in the event a guy runs off or if they need more workers. When an H2b worker crosses from Mexico, that visa which he used is considered used. If he leaves your company for any reason, that visa is lost. You cannot bring another worker unless you have another visa. The INS uses the number of visas issued to determine when the cap is reached, not the number of workers that actually cross. So a company could request 10 visas, only use two and the other eight visas just sit there, counting against the cap. I understand giving youself a little insurance, but in some cases it is excessive.

For anyone that is approved to use H2B workers you can transfer workers from one company to another. Basically, if company A brings 20 workers and after the workers arrive company A finds that 20 was too many, they may send some of the workers home. However, if company B needs more workers, company A may transfer some of their workers to company B, provided that company B has gone through the application process and is approved. You do not need to have any available visas to do this.

out4now
12-15-2004, 02:55 PM
Today, the IRS has a voluntary phone system that an employer can call to verify that a new hire's social security number matches the name.

With the number of undocumented workers in our country in the millions, why doesn't the IRS require employers to call that number and get some sort of authorization number?

I'm telling you right now, if they were to require that, our economy would nose dive almost overnight...at least here in north Texas. From fast food, to dry cleaning to road construction...you name the undesirable work and I guarantee the laborors are predominantly hispanic, more often than not, employed under a false social security card.

It's real easy to find willing workers who have real looking social security cards and picture ID's, but finding them with valid driver's licences is tough. The Texas Dept of Safety used to allow anyone fresh from Mexico to get a state issued ID card. Then if the guy could pass the driver's test, he could simply upgrade his ID card to a real driver's license. But starting about five years ago, the State of Texas stopped issuing ID cards to people who could not produce a social security card. This kept most of the hispanics with fake social security cards out of the driver's license office. Then, about 10 months ago, the state of Texas actually started verifying that the social security number matched with the name.

Long story short, I think the licensed drivers in Texas who are willing to do this kind of work will soon be able to dictate their own rate of pay as the laws of supply and demand become more evident.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Guess what a drivers liscence means to illegals? Nothing. They drive without them and without insurance. They know nothing is going to happen to them so they don't care. Worst is they get deported or spend a little time in jail and don't have to work for food, clothing or shelter. So what if the IRS will verify the number? All they have to do is make a fake card with a vailid number on it and then they can get all the rest of their ID in someone elses name. How will that help?

ed2hess
12-15-2004, 06:38 PM
We lost our $2000 last year also because we were too late. This year we started several weeks ago...don't know if we get people. Is it likely that TG asks for several thousand? Is there a limit for each applicant? I wonder if there is a way to find out who is trying to get people in my area? Since the minimum is 10 maybe some of us small guys could team up!

shearbolt
12-15-2004, 10:16 PM
Americans almost put me out of business. I waited till I could find documented Hispanic labor. Our local workforce office interpreter calls me when a new Hispanic documented worker comes in or files for unemployment. Call up the local office and see if you can talk to the Spanish interpreter. I didn't think I could find legal Hispanic workers with drivers licenses, but you can if you're patient.

mbella
12-16-2004, 08:25 AM
We lost our $2000 last year also because we were too late. This year we started several weeks ago...don't know if we get people. Is it likely that TG asks for several thousand? Is there a limit for each applicant? I wonder if there is a way to find out who is trying to get people in my area? Since the minimum is 10 maybe some of us small guys could team up!


The minimum isn't ten. You could get one. I just said that a lot of companies offer the same rate, whether you bring one or ten. I'm really not sure if there is a limit for each applicant.

DFW Area Landscaper
12-16-2004, 08:36 PM
++++DFW Area Landscaper, how many employees did that $4400 buy?++++

Four employess for $4,400.

By the way, I've just recently explained to my employee that I plan to add another crew in the spring and that I will need another crew leader. I explained that finding guys with valid drivers licenses is not easy. Anyway, he tells me that he has lots of friends who are crew leaders (ie drivers) for other landscaping companies in town and almost none of them have drivers licenses.

When in Rome....?????

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Evergreenpros
12-17-2004, 05:51 PM
++++DFW Area Landscaper, how many employees did that $4400 buy?++++

Four employess for $4,400.

By the way, I've just recently explained to my employee that I plan to add another crew in the spring and that I will need another crew leader. I explained that finding guys with valid drivers licenses is not easy. Anyway, he tells me that he has lots of friends who are crew leaders (ie drivers) for other landscaping companies in town and almost none of them have drivers licenses.

When in Rome....?????

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

I'm sure if you look at their operations you probably won't be too impressed. Am also sure if you knowingly allow your employees to drive your vehicles without being licensed, it's only a matter of time before you get burned bigtime. Some people don't mind operating their businesses like this. They just form a corporation, suck it dry for as long as they can, then when something happens, they declare bankruptcy and form another.

I also have to wonder if they guys who told you this are making it up. I'd make sure I double checked their licenses.

SCAG POWER
12-17-2004, 07:24 PM
Contact Marcus Drake 1-888-544-9122 low price of $100.00 Dollars per person . At least that what his add says in Lawn &Landscape.

mbella
12-17-2004, 08:18 PM
Contact Marcus Drake 1-888-544-9122 low price of $100.00 Dollars per person . At least that what his add says in Lawn &Landscape.

I have never dealt with Marcus Drake, but I would have to say no way. I'm sure that the $100.00 per person is over and above a minimum charge being met. The cheapest that I have found is $2900.00 for the first ten workers. Premium processing alone is $1000.00.

Tulsa Lawn Guy
12-17-2004, 10:38 PM
DFW,

Who are you using to get your H2B workers? Have you talked with Chuck from HOLA?

DFW Area Landscaper
12-18-2004, 08:46 AM
++++Who are you using to get your H2B workers?++++

I spoke with Amigos here in Dallas.

It doesn't matter who you use, there simply aren't enough visas. 66,000 visas for the entire country is a joke.

"Match a willing employer with a willing worker"

Yea right. I'm almost sorry I voted for Bush, but given the choices...

It's going to be a real challenge for me to find a second crew leader with a valid drivers license. Obviously, I've got a lot of competitors who don't care about such trivial things. Like I said earlier, its one thing when other people are breaking the law and it doesn't effect you, like speeding. But when you're forced to compete with people who gain a tremendous advantage by breaking the law, it sucks.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Tulsa Lawn Guy
12-18-2004, 10:58 AM
I know what you mean...

I'm at that stage where I'm ready to 'let go' of the actual mowing and work on more pressing matters. I only need two guy though.. and even if there were enough H2B workers, I couldn't't justify the expense of just two men.

I guess I'll just have to find a guy with a license that can be the driver... I'm going to start looking now. :)

JustMowIt
12-18-2004, 05:49 PM
++++Who are you using to get your H2B workers?++++

It's going to be a real challenge for me to find a second crew leader with a valid drivers license. Obviously, I've got a lot of competitors who don't care about such trivial things. Like I said earlier, its one thing when other people are breaking the law and it doesn't effect you, like speeding. But when you're forced to compete with people who gain a tremendous advantage by breaking the law, it sucks.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW... Drive over to Plano to the labor camp at the corner of Archerwood & Ozark Mapsco 659.N and talk with Lordes. She is employed by the city to match workers with employers. Tell her you want an experienced driver that has a drivers license & knows how to read a mapsco. She has hundreds of workers show up every day looking for jobs. Most are not legal but many secured a license during the time a SS was not required, or they went to Arkansas to get a license where they do not require a SS, at least this was true in 2003.

She has hundreds of lookers every week day and has been matchmaling for several years.

Lordes did us a great job for us before we started the H2-B program.

Good Luck
MJ

Ferngolf
12-22-2004, 01:05 AM
This is right from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation HIRING EMPLOYEES manual.
Also, Michigan has recently become the first state to stop paying workers compensation benefits to employees who obtained a job with false documents and who were here illegally.

ALIEN EMPLOYEE

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 not only makes hiring or recruiting "unauthorized aliens" illegal, but it also places the responsibility for enforcing the law on the employer. The law applies to ALL employers, no matter what the size of the business. Under the law, an employer is required to check the citizenship status of every employee and to have proper documentation for those employees with temporary residency. Contact the Immigration and Naturalization Service http://www.immigration.gov (800)375-5283 for more information or (800) 870-3676 to obtain forms.


It should be noted that many of the visas that authorize entrance to the United States do not authorize the holders of those visas to accept employment here. Usually these visas must be obtained from the U.S. State Department in the country of origin, though in some cases an application for a change in status can be secured from within the United States. The visas vary in eligibility requirements and in the duration of their viability. It is the employer's responsibility to ascertain whether employees are legally entitled to work. Consult an attorney who specializes in immigration matters or call the Immigration and Naturalization Service for assistance at (800) 375-5283.


It is my belief that if a LCO has an illegal who gets hurt, and the workers compensation does not cover it, there will be a Latin American ambulance chasing attorney following up with you. If your business is not OSHA compliant, you may be putting yourself and your business in harms way. There are many sympathizers out there who would like nothing else than to exploit The American Boss because he did not buy his $8 an hour immigrant worker a $10 pair of safety glasses. Imagine if you employee was pushing a mower through a yard, ran over a rock that hit the kitchen window, dog, or worse. If workers compensation companies are getting out of not paying, property and casualty companies will be close behind.
I am familiar with a very COMPREHENSIVE H2B company that had a few companies get shut out last year. They were very accommodating to the companies that got shut out in "04. They are doing those companies paperwork this year at no charge. If the company gets shut out again, they have only lost the cost of the newspaper ad. If the company gets approved, then they finish paying as they would have last year. Extremely customer friendly. They only had four companies get shut out because they send the paperwork in on the first day possible. All four companies are trying again this year. Why not? No risk if it does not work out. Send me a private message if you would like the number.

Ferngolf
12-22-2004, 01:19 AM
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/06/22/national/main625291.shtml

They got arrested, then sued. WalMart can afford it, we cant.

By the way, click on the Immigration and Naturalization icon then click GO next to the word map to see where people are coming here from. South and Central America make up only 15%, while Asia 31.2% and Europe 15.6%.
I'll bet the ComputerProgrammersSite.Com on-line community is filled with apprehension about the Asian number!

baka
12-22-2004, 03:39 AM
There are other ways to get visas. Have your workers enroll in some English classes at the local community college. As a college student they can get a student visa. Or have them marry an American. Sounds silly but I see a lot of people doing it that way.

lawnchopper
12-23-2004, 10:09 AM
:nono: i have faxed and called my congressman to tell them to hault the h2-b increases. We dont need to continue the sellout of america by giving it all away to foreign labor. There are alot of hidden costs that nobody talks about or is aware of such as what Ferngolf has mentioned. Whay if they get hurt outside the job, crap out a kid(s), try to marry a american citizen ect, fragalent IDs, Who pays for all that??. Up here we have a LCO that hires all migrants he pays them scratch so he can bid lower now my company has to drop their price dramatically in somecases. If it keeps up COs that have american workers wont be able to pay them what they DESERVE, it will continue to displace american works. You can do alot of web serching out there to find out the hidden costs of all this.

shearbolt
12-25-2004, 10:58 AM
Lawnchopper, I hire only LEGAL Hispanics but I can't blame those who hire undocumented workers. I really feel they saved my business. I no longer have to deal with no shows, pee in cup breaks, attitude, its too hot, I can't work Saturday,Tatoos, long hair, sneaking cigs while working, etc etc. I really feel that the Americans who are at the bottom of the pay scale (I pay $9-10) are there, for the most part, because they have major character flaws. I suppose this is passible if they are working in a large company were they can afford to have people consistently not show up and not have things grind to a halt. This is not my case with 3 employees. Lots of times 2 out of the 3 didn't show because the hung over one drove the other one because that one lost his license. Also there is a myth that if all the Hispanics were deported things would get better economically for the lower tier. Yes wages would go up but productivity would not therefore it would just cause inflation and the wage increases would be negated for the most part. Furthermore, the idea that if you increase wages (by deporting Hispanics)the workers with better character will then be able to work in our industry is a myth also. Their employers who presently pay them more or have benefits will be forced to compete with our wage increase, again not based on increases in productivity. Here again, inflation will will be the result because wage increases will just be passed on to consumer as opposed to productivity increases that allow companies to pay more or yes make more without raising prices.

DFW Area Landscaper
05-02-2005, 01:10 PM
Did anyone else see that news piece on 20/20 or Dateline about a week ago on the bogus social security cards and the Cargill meat packing plant in Nebraska?

They invterviewed a top dog at INS and the guy basically said on national television "we don't care."

The whole problem with the current system is that an enforcement officer can enforce the laws if they want to. Too much power to the enforcement agencies if you ask me. Either they enforce this law or they don't. For the most part they don't, but don't try to tell Wal-mart or Pappas that. They were fined heavily for this. These enforcement agents have the power to put just about any LCO in north texas out of business tomorrow, if they ever decided they want to.

Don't pizz off the enforcement agents. (Doesn't this sound eerily familar to the police in Mexico?)

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

ed2hess
05-02-2005, 08:55 PM
We was notified a week ago to submit our names of the guys we want via our H2B application. So we put in four names and are waiting to hear!

pagefault
05-02-2005, 09:07 PM
I'd hire local, legal Mexican labor. Where I am, and I am sure it is similar up there, the Mexican community is very tight and there are families who have been here forever. I have friends that I got to lunch with and wherever we go, they know every tenth person who walks in the door.

I'd hire some of them, treat them right and look at the difference in salary as a marketing cost, since you ought to get some good word of mouth business from them.

Just a thought.