In search of employees

H-2B visas may be an option for contractors in need of employees

Although the newly elected Congress undoubtedly will address the immigration issue in 2007, it will take time for any new law to be passed. In the meantime, roofing contractors and other U.S. industries are left in a quandary.

The roofing industry, similar to other segments of the U.S. economy, needs personnel and has had great difficulty attracting authorized workers to meet its needs.

After many years of little effort by the federal government to crack down on the pervasive use of fraudulent worker authorization documents, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has engaged in a well-publicized campaign of job-site raids, immediate deportation of unauthorized workers and the threat of bringing criminal charges against employers of illegal immigrants. In addition, in the absence of federal legislation, state legislatures and local governments have enacted laws intended to penalize employers of unauthorized workers.

Although relatively few employers have been subject to raids, the threat of a raid has left many contractors worried they might suddenly lose a substantial portion of their work forces with no advance notice.