H2B Visas - they're sold out

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    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
     
  2. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,656

    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.
     
  3. bsmithalc

    bsmithalc LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 39

    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.
     
  4. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    ++++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
     
  5. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    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.
     
  6. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    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
     
  7. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,807

    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....
     
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    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
     
  9. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    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
     
  10. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    DFW Area Landscaper, how many employees did that $4400 buy?
     

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