By Christianna Silva
H-2B visas are becoming more difficult to obtain, but that isn’t stopping construction companies in the Valley.
Valley contractors are proving their resilience. Downtown Phoenix is booming, Camelot Homes has two new luxury communities heading to the Valley and The Statesman Group is launching its third phase of sales at The Cays in Downtown Ocotillo. This all comes at a time when the business of construction is becoming more difficult, since it relies heavily on H-2B visas, which are becoming virtually impossible to obtain, says Patty Johnson, a spokesperson for Paul Johnson Drywall, one of the largest specialty contractors in Arizona and throughout the Southwest.
H-2B visas are granted through a federal program that allows businesses to successfully and legally hire foreign guest workers, who are already trained, so they don’t have to train workers in the U.S. and lose precious time and resources.
“The folks that comes through H-2B are highly skilled, and they come for a temporary period to help us get through the season,” Johnson says. But in 2018, Paul Johnson Drywall didn’t get a single H-2B visa accepted. In 2019, they aren’t even going to apply.