Colorado relies heavily on foreign seasonal labor. This year, there’s a shortage of visas. | SummitDaily.com

Colorado relies heavily on foreign seasonal labor. This year, there’s a shortage of visas.

Colorado heavily dependent on H-2B visa, especially landscapers

Aldo Svaldi / The Denver Post

Juan Herrera of Singing Hill Landscape moves mulch around as he works on a park at the Riverdale Dunes community on March 7, 2018 in Commerce City. Landscapers rely heavily on the H-2B visa program for peak season help. There were 33,000 visas offered and 100,000 applications. Unlike in prior years, the DOL went to a lottery system. A majority of landscapers won’t get their workers unless Congress passes a fix. Colorado is one of the heaviest users of the program given its seasonal climate.

Colorado companies in landscaping, construction, hospitality and tourism are getting unwelcome notices that the federal government has denied their visa applications to bring in foreign workers to meet the summer rush.

"We don't know how we will get the workers," said Jake Leman, construction division manager at Singing Hills Landscaping, one of the firms rejected. "If we could bring back the guys we had from last year, we would be able to survive and fulfill all of our contracts."

The Aurora company applied for 40 slots under the H-2B visa program to bring workers from Mexico to handle the surge in business during the warmer months, a request made every year after local hiring efforts fail.

"It is dire," said Brad Ahl, who helps firms apply for visas as president of Windsor-based Labor Solutions Inc. Historically low unemployment rates and worsening labor shortages across a growing number of industries and states are pushing more employers to seek help outside U.S. borders.

Read the full story on The Denver Post website, click here.