Small business owners struggle to fill the gaps with seasonal workers

Small business owners say the shortage of H-2B visas remains a threat for businesses that rely on seasonal help.

Earthworks, Inc. president Chris Lee told FOX Business that visa restrictions are creating problems for American companies.

“We’re talking about opportunities for people that they know going into it will end just before the holidays and won’t pick back up until February or March,” Lee said on Thursday.

The H-2B visa is a non-immigrant program that permits employers to hire foreign workers to come to the United States temporarily and fill non-agricultural jobs.

Supporters of the worker visa program say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to adequately staff their businesses with enough employees. Critics question whether foreign nationals will return to their own country after fulfilling their work requirement in the U.S.

“Should they overstay their visa, should they get in trouble, any convictions, and any problems really whatsoever jeopardizes their ability to come back the following season,” Lee said.

Lee said the biggest misconception of the H-2B program is that it is somehow a form of cheap labor preventing U.S. citizens from earning a competitive wage.

“Our prevailing wage this year is $13.31 an hour which is not low wage by any means,” he said.

Earthworks, Inc. is a full-service landscape management services company for multi-family and commercial properties.