An Introduction to the H-2B Visa Program
By Oded Carmi
While the driver shortage has been a pervasive problem in the industry for seemingly forever, this year domestic asset based movers faced a new challenge, a shortage of local labor. The shortage ranged from packers, loaders, local drivers, to warehouse workers. Many of us have been searching for potential solutions to address the labor shortage. Once such solution to consider is the U.S. Department of Labor’s H-2B Visa program.
The H-2B non-immigrant program permits employers to temporarily hire non-immigrants to perform services in the United States. Not any company can apply for the program. There are specific requirements. Once such requirement is that the employment must be of a temporary nature for a limited period of time such as a peakload need. The HHGs moving industry fits well with this requirement due to our intense summer peak seasons.
Another requirement of the H-2B program is that the applicant prove that local labor isn’t available. The Department of Labor therefore establishes certain recruitment and displacement standards in order to protect similarly employed U.S. workers.
The non-immigrant workers must also be paid properly. The employer must attest to the Department of Labor that it will offer a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage, applicable Federal minimum wage, the State minimum wage, or local minimum wage to the H-2B non-immigrant worker for the occupation in the area of intended employment during the entire period of the approved H-2B labor certification.
While the H-2B program could be a viable solution for domestic asset-based movers to address the ongoing labor shortage, it is an intricate process that requires a lot of work and advanced preparation. There are many other factors to be considered that have not been mentioned above.
So if this article piqued your interest, then you’ll be happy to know that IAM’s US Domestics Asset Based group will be holding a webinar soon about the H2B Visa Process. The webinar will feature:
Ami Joseph – As the president of Isaac’s Moving and Storage, Ami has participated in the H-2B visa process for over a decade. He will be providing the mover’s perspective on the the process.
Arnulfo Hinojosa – The Federation of Employers & Workers of America (FEWA) is the leading association that assists employers and workers in the matters of non-immigrant labor issues. As the vice president of FEWA, Arnulfo will be able to provide valuable insight based on his extensive experience on the H-2B visa program as it relates to our industry.
Michele Contreras – As the founder of the Law Office of Michele Contreras LLC, Michelle has established herself as a H-2B visa expert. She is a Mentor in the area of H-2B Visas for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, serves on the Department of Labor Liaison Committee for the American Immigration Lawyers Association National Office, and also serves as the Co-Coordinator of the National H-2 Attorney Interest Group Listserve. Michelle will provide the attorney perspective on working with moving companies to achieve H-2B visa success.
So please join us to find out more about this timely and relevant topic.