“We are going to continue to hit up Congress for more access to foreign workers because Americans want year-round jobs that come with benefits and we have a lot of seasonal business and need more access to labor.” -National Ski Areas Association’s Dave Byrd
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly approved a one-time increase in the number of H-2B visas for seasonal workers with 15,000 bump from the usual 66,000 per year. The Denver Post reports the ski resort industry along with amusement park and golf course operators, landscaping and forestry companies and fisheries were all calling on Congress for the increase.
The National Ski Areas Association not only wants to see the number of visas increase but wants to ease regulations on the H-2B visas, which have fallen out of favor among ski resorts in recent years.
Specifically they don’t like the requirement that employers pay travel expenses for foreign workers and must deliver at least 35 hours a week of work for employees using a H-2B visa (airfare is one thing but if it doesn’t snow and the resort cant operate it can definitely be a losing proposition).
“Part of our broader goal is to get these regulations relaxed. The increase has made it slightly easier for us going forward but the number of onerous regulations makes the H-2B program extremely difficult for small businesses to use.”-David Byrd
Businesses can start applying for the new visas this week, but must prove that would suffer permanent “irreparable harm” without importing foreign workers. David Byrd thinks the visas will likely be gone by the time when ski resort operators are ramping up for winter in October.