The U.S. construction industry has always relied on the availability of laborers for success. Those laborers vary in skill, from highly skilled tradesmen to generally unskilled crew members. Increasingly though, the pool of U.S. skilled and unskilled labor is dwindling. A push for more high school students to attend four-year colleges, an increasingly tech-oriented youth culture, and an overall lack of interest and opportunities to learn trade skills in high school has left many U.S. construction industry employers scrambling to find lawful employees. Out of necessity, many have turned to the readily available pool of undocumented immigrant laborers, and are looking for opportunities to help their undocumented employees gain legal status. Others are looking to import the labor they need from Mexico, Central America, and other places.
Fortunately, the H-2B visa offers a workforce solution to U.S. construction industry employers. The H-2B visa allows certain employers to sponsor foreign nationals for employment in the United States. Unlike the popular H-1B visa, the H-2B visa has no education or experience requirements.
Rather, qualification for the H-2B visa turns on the employer demonstrating in one of four ways that the need for foreign labor is temporary.
Those four ways include:
(1) The foreign labor is necessary for a one-time occurrence;
(2) The foreign labor is necessary for a seasonal need only;
(3) The foreign labor is necessary to meet the demands of a peakload time period; or
(4) The foreign labor is necessary to meet an intermittent need only.
Demonstration of one of these four situations forms the basis of qualification for the H-2B visa. The visa offers a workforce solution to the U.S. construction industry, especially during seasons of high demand when there is not a sufficient supply of U.S. workers to meet demand for U.S. construction services.