The Trump administration promised a crackdown on a wide range of visas including temporary visas for overseas workers. However, many hotels and other tourist facilities have been left facing an acute shortage of workers due to the temporary visa crackdown.
Those impacted include hotel owners, restaurateurs, and landscapers around the United States.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported these businesses are struggling to find seasonal help and being forced to turn down business in some cases because the government has clamped down on visas for temporary foreign workers. Critics say lowly paid jobs that attract foreign workers undercut local wages.
Hotels may be hit in temporary visa crackdown
The visas in question are H-2B temporary visas, a category for workers holding down seasonal, non-agricultural jobs. We outline these here on our website.
In May, The Chronicle reported the United States caps the number of H-2B visas at 66,000 each fiscal year.
Some of the workers in the hotel and leisure industry return year after year. Congress allowed them to do so in the past without being counted toward the limit. However, no exception was passed for 2017 at the end of 2016, after the presidential election. A temporary visa crackdown might prove serious.
Lawmakers outlined a spending bill that would allow the homeland security secretary to boost the number of H-2B visas in the present fiscal year to almost 130,000.
But even if the measure passes, it will take weeks for the visas to be processed. Many of the visas would not arrive in time for Memorial Day and perhaps even not until after the Fourth of July, the report stated.
Foreign workers are in demand for jobs in the hospitality industry like housekeepers, cooks, and dishwashers because the positions are often low wage and Americans are not willing to do them.
President Trump has hired seasonal workers at his Mar-a-Lago resort by using the H-2B visa program.
Each visa costs at least $1,000 in government fees, travel, and other expenses. The employer foots this bill.
We outline the types of visa used in the hospitality industry here. The tourism industry also makes use of J-1 visas for students and L visas for managers.
Some areas have been hard hit by the shortage of temporary workers.
The San Francisco Chronicle quoted Sarah Mace Diment, the manager of the Beachmre Inn Ogunquit, Maine. She was forced to reduce the number of rooms available during spring vacation week in April. She cited a shortage of eight housekeepers, who are paid $10 to $12.50 an hour. None of her H-2B visa requests were granted, she said.
If you are seeking to hire foreign workers on H-2B visas, there are certain rules to follow. For example, employers must advertise for U.S. workers first. An Austin immigration lawyer can help you.