COME SUMMER, LAWN MAINTENANCE CREWS MAY BE HARD TO FIND
Current Hiring Rules May Force a 30-50% Reduction in Landscape Workforce this Year, Drive up Costs
Landscaping businesses, a $40 billion industry, are reeling from changes in the guest worker program that is designed to allow these small and seasonal businesses to hire legal immigrant workers.
Under this hiring program, known as H-2B, qualified employers may hire properly documented guest workers so long as U.S. workers are not available for landscape jobs like cutting grass, planting trees and shrubs, and general maintenance.
Controls on the number of visas were put into place to protect wages and working conditions:
- Visas were capped at 66,000. Unfortunately, that number fell far short of the demand for these workers.
- Congress then voted to allow an exemption for returning workers. But, that exemption has now expired, leaving companies in a quandary as to how to meet the high demand for services coming into the height of the season.
According to Tom Delaney, the government affairs director for PLANET, the Professional Landcare Network, a national trade association which represents 100,000 lawn and landscaping professionals, unless something changes now, many landscaping businesses will not survive the summer.
“This worker shortage is sure to have an impact on a large number of property owners as companies are forced to cut back on the number of projects they can handle.” The lack of competition may adversely impact the costs of landscaping and maintenance.
To learn more, go to www.landcarenetwork.organd look for the H-2B toolkit.
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Check out our article on energy-efficient landscaping: HOW LANDSCAPING SAVES YOU MONEY