Visa Shortage Means More Texans May Be Mowing Their Own Lawns This Summer

Mark Hoffman has been running a landscaping company for three decades, enduring through booms and busts. Now several of his five trucks sit idle, he’s turning down new business and he may have to drop some of his 300 customers.The problem? Coppell Lawn and Garden can’t hire enough workers — primarily because it got shut out by the federal government.Since 2008, Hoffman’s company has recruited landscape workers through the H-2B visa program, which allows foreigners to work here for seasonal stints. They usually arrive from Mexico in early April and head home at the end of November.For 2018, Hoffman requested 10 visas, the same number he received in the past. But he got none, largely because nationwide demand outstripped supply by 3-to-1.Through an agency, Hoffman submitted his paperwork shortly after midnight on Jan. 1, which should have put him in a good position. The government had traditionally awarded visas on a first-come basis, but it held a lottery this time.“I got slammed,” Hoffman said this week from his office in Coppell. “They’re choosing who gets to win and who goes to hell.”  Continue reading...

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