Immigrant Labor: Thinking Outside The Box
It’s no secret that building service contractors have trouble finding quality employees. Janitorial work is not glamorous and applicants aren’t exactly lining up at the door to fill vacant positions. Adding to this problem is the lack of immigration reform, which could pave the way for BSCs to tap into the large immigrant workforce.
In the pages of Fortune Small Business, I read about Bliss Nicholson, owner of Bruce Co., a landscaping business in Middleton, Wis. Nicholson has his own answer to the worker shortage. Instead of running the risk of hiring illegal immigrant workers (as many of his competitors do), Nicholson travels to Mexico each year to recruit legal migrant workers via seasonal work visas.
This solution is both time-consuming and expensive (it can cost more than $25,000 a year to prove there’s not enough legal U.S. workers to fill his job openings), but it does guarantee Bruce Co. doesn’t hire illegal workers and potentially face fines much higher than $25,000.
Congress isn’t going to address the immigration issue again until well after the 2008 presidential election. Perhaps while they wait, BSCs should find new employees with “outside the box” solutions like this one.
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