Seasonal workers are often the backbone of the construction and maintenance firms that conduct intensive repairs and remodeling throughout summer months. Often able to offer lower rates for high quality work, seasonal workers are once again in hot demand as the American economy re-opens for the summer months, as outlined by Reuters. When approaching new renovations, they are a great option to get work done quickly and to a great standard. However, there are pitfalls whenever foreign labor is being dealt with, and homeowners and firm owners alike must be aware of the legal regulations surrounding such work.
There is a wide range of visas associated with seasonal work. The most commonly held visa is an H-2A Visa, the work associated with which is rejected by one in 20 American citizen workers. These visas are increasing in number, which means there’s going to be an increased labor pool – most recently, the Wall Street Journal highlighted a 22,000 person increase in the amount of visas to be offered throughout 2021. These workers can undertake a range of jobs, typically agricultural, but this must be actively assessed by the employer. Other visa types frequently raised include the H-2B visa, which is likely to be held by any skilled contractors who come to work on your property. Speak to a legal professional if in doubt.
Skilled temporary workers
H-2B differs from H-2A in that it specifically targets skilled workers. That includes many construction industry professionals, landscapers, and other workers. According to The Balance, these workers are likely to be present in any complex construction job or renovation, whereas some workers for the same firms may hold H-2A visas. Checking is crucial. If a third party contractor says everything is above board, ask to see proof. It’s crucial that your workers hold the right visa for the work they are completing. The penalties for being involved in the use of illegal workers can be severe, and aren’t necessarily limited just to a third party company. If you have a suspicion that illegal workers are being used, it’s important that you raise concerns, as you could be held liable in any civil or criminal issues after the work is completed.
Hiring workers without the correct documentation constitutes the hiring of illegal workers and carries penalties. According to The Houston Chronicle, this can range from a small fine of $110 per violation all the way up to $10,000 per illegal employee. Prison sentences are even mooted if the company or person is involved with harboring illegal workers – offering shelter. While this is extremely unlikely to concern the average homeowner, you must be aware of the risks. Even a small fine can put a dent in the frugal nature of any renovations and cause irreparable damage to reputation.
Seasonal workers will do a great job for you, and can be a great way to find quality work during congested times of year. Staying on the right side of the law when it comes to their work, however, is essential. Visas are the key element here, and ensuring compliance will keep you – and your wallet – happy.