The extreme shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. has long existed- however, it has grown at an even greater rate post-COVID. Currently, the shortage is approximately 80,000 drivers [reported in 2021 by the American Trucking Associations]. To make matters worse, the shortage is only expected to grow in the future. Our clients in the logistics industry have addressed this shortage through hiring overseas drivers that are ready, willing and able to fill their truck driver positions in the U.S.
Specifically, there are two immigration routes that our clients utilize to hire foreign truck drivers: (1) H-2B Visa (Temporary Worker) and (2) EB-3 (Green Card). The H-2B visa process, a temporary visa type, can allow an employer to bring drivers within two to three months. Whereas the EB-3 process, a permanent solution, can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months. A brief overview of these visa types that we use for our clients is described below.
One of the quickest routes to bringing truck driver employees to the U.S. is through the H-2b visa. The H-2B program can be used by employers that demonstrate temporary, seasonal, or peak-load shortage of staff and need of additional workers- this is often the case for our clients in logistics. The H-2B program process typically takes 5 to 8 months to complete. Through this visa type, truck drivers can come to the U.S. and work for up to 9 months in a one-year period with the initial approval. Thereafter, the employee must leave for a period of three months and can come on an H-2B visa again for another 9 months (total of 27 months of employment).
Employers of the H-2B workers are obligated to pay for the visa application, flight tickets and accommodation of the workers, as well as to pay them the wage determined by the Department of Labor to protect them from exploitation. Typically, these costs are well worth it for our trucking clients that need drivers now.
Additionally, the employee’s family (spouse and children under 21) can also accompany the employee under the dependent H-4 visa.
EB-3 (Green Card)
The EB-3 visa is a more permanent solution to bringing drivers to the U.S. Under the EB-3 category, an employer can sponsor the driver to come to the U.S. to work in permanent position (green card). Generally, this process can be completed within 12 to 24 months. Under this category, an employer can petition for a foreign person to come to the U.S. to fill an employment position if the employer was not able to find a suitable employee from the American workforce- something that can very easily be shown for most trucking companies.
Additionally, the employee’s family (spouse and children under 21) can also immigrate with the employee.
Contact us to discuss your immigration options for truck driver employees.