Immigrate To The US As A Construction Worker |

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Immigrate To The US As A Construction Worker

The United States is a popular destination for foreign workers who are in search of a higher standard of living. As such, a lot of immigrants travel to the US with the hope of living the American dream and a better lifestyle. However, it’s not limited to only skilled foreigners, as you can immigrate to the US as a construction worker.


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According to a report, most foreign workers come from around the world to the US for low-wage and semi-skilled jobs. So, as a construction worker, you might feel that the options are limited but it’s wrong. It is stated that the percentage of foreign workers in the construction industry in the US is rapidly increasing. This is why you should consider how you can immigrate to the US as a construction worker.

In the US, immigrants account for almost 25% of the overall construction workforce and about 30% in the construction trades. With the continuous rise in foreign workers, there are a couple of options if you wish to immigrate to the US as a construction worker. However, you must be consistent, dedicated, and passionate to achieve your dreams.

In this article, we’ll explain who a construction worker is, their responsibilities, as well as the requirements to immigrate to the US as a construction worker. Also, we will take you through the visa program for foreign construction workers among other things. Now, let’s get started!

Who Is A Construction Worker In The US?

The occupation of a construction worker is classified as Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code 47-000. They are also referred to as construction laborers who work on construction sites. Furthermore, they are responsible for several on-site responsibilities which include removing debris, erecting scaffolding, and loading and unloading materials.

As well as operating and assisting with heavy equipment on the site. There are different occupations at a construction site and they are classified:


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  • SOC 47-1000: Supervisors of Construction and Extraction Workers.
  • SOC 47-1010: First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers.
  • SOC 11-9020: Construction Managers.

Immigrate to the US as a construction worker and earn an average salary of $43,100 per year. Entry-level positions start at $33,280 per year while most experienced workers make up to $55,910 per year. With an hourly pay of $25.

Responsibilities Of A Construction Worker In The US 

Some of the construction worker’s responsibilities include:

  1. They are in charge of preparing construction sites, materials, and tools.
  2. As well as loading and unloading of materials, tools, and equipment.
  3. They also help to remove debris, garbage, and dangerous materials from the sites.
  4. Furthermore, they are responsible for assembling and breaking down barricades, temporary structures, and scaffolding.
  5. They also assist contractors, such as electricians and painters, as required.
  6. In addition, they assist with the transportation and operation of heavy machinery and equipment.

Requirements To Become A Construction Worker In The US

Obtaining a high school diploma is the most basic requirement for a construction worker. Meanwhile, it’ll be an added advantage if they have vocational training by attending classes in welding, woodshop, and mathematics in high school. Most construction workers are trained on-site by their employers.

Furthermore, employees could be required to pass an industry-specific certification to prove that they adequately understand the field. Some of these certifications are listed below, let’s check it out!

  1. Occupation Visa Options for Immigrating to the US.
  2. National Association of Safety Professionals Certifications.
  3. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Construction Certificate.
  4. Silica in Construction Certificate.

Visa Programs To Immigrate To The US As A Construction Worker

Two visa programs are available for construction workers who want to immigrate to the United States. Scroll down!

1. H-2B Visa For Non-Agricultural Workers

The H-2B Visa is a temporary or non-immigrant visa that permits foreign skilled, unskilled, and professional workers to immigrate to the US for non-agricultural and non-seasonal jobs. Furthermore, several occupations qualify for this visa, such as:

  1. Landscaping and grounds keeping workers.
  2. Forest and conservation workers.
  3. Amusement and recreation attendants.
  4. Maids and housekeeping cleaners.
  5. Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers.

However, you must have a valid job offer from a US-based employer for you to be eligible.

H-2B Visa Program

The H-2B visa program is designed to allow US employers to fill full-time, temporary, or non-agricultural positions with workers. These workers can come from approximately 80 eligible foreign countries. Employers must also ensure that they can demonstrate their ability of not finding any US workers who are willing, able, and qualified for the job.

They will need to prove that hiring foreign nationals will not impact the wages or working conditions of similarly hired workers. The H-2B visas are well-known in certain industries, including construction. Due to the labor shortages that have been a growing concern for more than a decade.

As well as the many aged workers that are approaching retirement age plus an inadequate number of younger US workers that are entering the industry. In the Associated General Contractors of America 2021 Workforce Survey, more than 80 percent of companies with open craft positions reported they were struggling to fill them.

Temporary Basis

Aside from demonstrating the inability to recruit workers domestically, as an employer, you must show that your need for extra workers is only temporary. Because of the seasonal, intermittent, or peak-load fluctuations in workflow, or a one-time event of short duration. However, to ascertain that the need is only temporary, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will analyze the list of worker duties.

To check whether the proposed number of workers is necessary to perform these duties, and if the need extends through the employment period requested. So, based on the business, some construction companies may have a seasonal need for workers. For instance, a pool construction company will often have projects during a particular period of the year.

Generally, construction industries usually have their peak-load need for workers. This implies that they will need to supplement permanent staff with temporary workers to meet seasonal or short-term demand. For instance, a construction company that specializes in K-12 school renovations may have more projects during the summer and as such, more demand for workers when schools are closed.

Furthermore, to qualify for the H-2B visa temporarily, companies would need to show they have not employed workers to perform a certain type of labor in the past. And that they need workers to do it in the future. Petitioners are responsible for demonstrating that the period of need for workers is finite. Additionally, these visas are generally approved for up to nine months, except in the case of one-time events, for which visas can be approved for up to three years. 

H-2B Visas Are Competitive

Generally, the H-2B visas are capped at 66,000 per year and demand for the program always overpowers the supply. A few years ago, an additional 20,000 visas were temporarily added due to high demand. Even at that, there were not enough visas to cater to the number of applicants.

Complex Application Process

The H-2B visa application process is somehow complicated and we have helped you divide it into three distinct phases. Scroll down! 

  • Your employer will apply for labor certification from the Department of Labor. This phase includes conducting a labor market test with the State Workforce Agency where they will carry out the work. 
  • Your employer will petition USCIS for approval to hire a specific number of workers under the H-2B visa classification. 
  • Lastly, after USCIS approves the petition, the workers will apply with a Department of State visa-issuing embassy or consulate overseas for their H-2B visa.

2. EB-3 Visa Employment-Based Visa For Permanent Workers

The EB-3 Visa is a permanent immigrant visa that gives authorization to foreign workers who intend to travel to the US for permanent employment. You will need to have the required work experience and a valid job offer to qualify for this visa program. Furthermore, EB-3 visas are for skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers.

The process involved for this visa requires the employer to file a labor certification application with the Department of Labor (DOL). And also documents that there is a shortage of US workers available to fill the available job positions. Once the DOL has approved it, employers will then file an I-140 immigrant petition on behalf of their prospective employee with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Additionally, the EB-3 visa allows foreign nationals to live and work legally in the US for up to five years. And they also have the opportunity to apply for permanent residency.

NOTE

Both the EB-3 and H1B visas are very strong options for individuals who wish to work in construction in the United States. As for construction employers, they must also be aware of their obligations when hiring EB-3 and H1B visa holders. Failure to follow the relevant rules can cause serious consequences.

Overall, EB-3 and H1B visas provide important opportunities for foreign construction workers who want to immigrate and work legally in the US.

Conclusion

Even though this process can be complex and lengthy, these visas provide strong pathways for foreigners who wish to immigrate to the US as construction workers. So, take the next step towards achieving your goal today. Good luck!

 

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