Non-agriculture businesses that need temporary or seasonal employees may get an opportunity to hire additional workers from outside the country. That's because the federal government is adding 15,000 H-2B visas this year.
There are a wide range of California businesses that rely on H-2B visas to attain seasonal employees — ski resorts, restaurants and equestrian centers in need of short-term groomers, to name a few.
This differs from the H-1B visas for foreign workers employed mainly by the tech industry.
Francisco Acevedo is president of the Redding Tree Growers Corporation, which specializes in dead tree removal and reforestation projects.
"There's a big need to reforest a lot of the wildfires, and also in California we have the tree mortality, so there's going to be a lot of work available," says Acevedo.
Acevedo is operating with only half of his normal staff right now, because he can't find enough employees.
"We do work out of state, work in the state of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, so you've got to move around," he says. "So, when they see they have to move around and leave their families, it's not easy for them."
He was happy to hear about the increase in visas and hopes to gain employees through the program.
Lisa Bogue is with Boguey Concessions, a company that runs carnival games at fairs in California, Oregon and Washington.
She said the company started applying for H-2B visas 14 years ago, and has been requesting more and more of them each year.
"We're on the road for eight to nine months, and it just became harder and harder to hire people that wanted to travel," Bogue said.
The Department of Homeland Security says it received enough visa applications in the first half of the year to fill the 66,000 visa maximum for the entire year.
The additional 15,000 visas are for jobs starting on or before Sept. 30.