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Potential Work Visa Reforms May Impact Dayton Area Businesses

President Trump signed an executive order this week calling for a report on changes needed to reform visa programs for international workers. Advocates say this could lead to a reduction in foreign labor in the United States. This possibility has some local employers worried about the future of their businesses.

Immigration lawyer Catherine McCarthy says she’s been fielding calls from business owners who rely on foreign workers for the busy summer season.

“A lot of companies are actually coming and telling me they’re short handed because they can’t get their steady supply of interested workers from Mexico or other locations outside of the United States.”

McCarthy says demand for H1 and H2 visas, which allow international citizens to legally work in the U.S, has gone up significantly in the past few years. But the number of available visas has capped out. McCarthy says her clients are afraid the Trump administration may decide to lower the cap even further. And they fear many immigrants they’ve hired in the past won’t return.  

“One of my main clients that for them, they don’t feel that comfortable coming to the U.S. and generally in landscaping, the salaries are not tremendous.”

Some of McCarthy’s clients are exploring raising pay rates to attract more American employees. But, she says, some business can’t afford the wage hike.