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Visas for Construction Workers

by Ally Bolour | Jun 22, 2023

Most construction projects have tight deadlines to minimize costs and maximize profits. The amount of work to be done surges during certain times of the year. For example, masses of road construction may occur after heavy rainstorms and building new structures may occur during the spring or summertime, when the daylight lasts longer. Consequently, the demand for workers during these prime work periods increase significantly.

The employer in search of foreign employees must apply for temporary labor certification to the US Department of Labor and approved before employees can apply for the H-2B visa. The petitioner (the employer) must be able to establish that the position is in fact temporary.

The H-2B visa program allows U.S. employers to temporarily hire non-agricultural workers from other countries for a specific period. The H-2B visa is a permission to work in the US for a temporary period, which is established by a one-time occurrence, seasonal need, intermittent or peak load need for the noncitizen employee. To be eligible for the H-2B visa, the worker must be from a country that the U.S. government has designated as eligible for the program. If the applicant is not from one of the countries designated for the H-2B petition, it is at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security to determine to grant the visa.

The employer petitioning H-2B visa must report any no show, abscondment, termination, or early completion to the USCIS. If a worker fails to report to work within five days of the start date, they leave without notice and fails to report for five consecutive days, they are terminated, or if the worker and employer finishes the labor they were hired for. Changes in conditions of employment, placement fee or compensation that the petitioner or the employer is to collect must be notified to USCIS. If the employer knew about agreements on payment as a recruitment-related exchange, the employer is at risk of denial or revocation of their H-2B petitions.

A downside to the H-2B visa option is that temporary work visas are very limited and competitive to attain. In addition to providing evidence of temporary work and need for foreign employees, the number of applicants for the H-2B visa is significantly higher than those available. For best outcome for potential applicants, a timely submission of application is highly recommended.

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