Homeland Security Issues New Non-Skilled Visas to Save Maine from Hiring Local

Businesses in Maine that operate in the summer tourism industry have a problem: Not enough visas available to hire their summer staffs. So, horror of horrors, they are having to (gasp!) do things like increase salary, and changing schedules to attract local talent.

Makes me want to cry in the corner or something. Poor businesses.

Okay, enough with the melodrama. It is tough for businesses that have relied on cheap foreign labor to suddenly have to pay market rates for local employees. The Bangor Daily News wrote, back in April:

Businesses in Maine that rely on summer help are hoping that Congress will come to the rescue.

Because of new limits on the seasonal worker visa program, restaurants, hotels and other tourist-centered operations are scrambling to find seasonal employees. Until Congress opens the door to more H-2B foreign workers, those businesses are finding ways to attract locals onto the payroll.

They begged Congress and got what they wanted: more visas. The Department of Homeland Security just approved 15,000 new visas for low wage seasonal workers.Was this the real solution or should Maine and other states with high summer tourism employment needs have been forced to keep raising wages and benefits until they found US Citizens and Permanent Residents to fill the jobs?

To keep reading, click here: Homeland Security Issues New Non-Skilled Visas to Save Maine from Hiring Local

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10 thoughts on “Homeland Security Issues New Non-Skilled Visas to Save Maine from Hiring Local

  1. This article is an example of the greed of businesses. Yes, tourism has been a big economic boom for those businesses but for them, this labor cost is only a seasonal need so they should have a budget that allows for the labor costs. Or are their wages so low, that local potential employees search elsewhere for jobs. These places charge outrageous prices during the key tourist season which should amply cover labor cost. Okay I get that the years business gain occurs in that short window but I am sure they run on a skeleton crew during the off months.
    Reliance of just work visa employees is only fair if they are rehiring the same people every year and paying for the past experience not keeping wages down. Hiring new employees is a costly hit on the financials of the business especially as this is mainly in the service areas. I am quite sure most of the customers for these businesses are highly critical of staff services.
    Are they saying that the local population is too lazy and picky to take a seasonal job.
    I am totally against using this as sole hiring means for employees.

    1. There are no “other” jobs in Maine, people hang onto their jobs into their 70s and 80s so most young people leave the state. Those who stay tend to have multiple jobs if they work in service. 3-4 part-time waiting table gigs in the summer (1-3 shifts each), then the fall gigs are usually store clerks and bartending, then just bartending in winter. They are not lazy, they have to work a ton to break even and unlike the seasonal workers who get houses to stay in for cheap based on the employer – mainers are never allowed to stay in those rooms even if they work for the same place.

  2. I’m highly cynical about this entire topic. There are — clearly — some jobs that Americans won’t do. It’s certainly the problem with some agricultural jobs, but unknown if the same problem exists for these non-agricultural ones. It’s been widely-reported that the Trump resorts use these H-2B visas for seasonal staffing, rather than hiring locals. Is that why Homeland Security suddenly issued these additional ones? America — obviously — needs some foreign workers. We need comprehensive immigration reform, rather than addressing these issues in a piecemeal fashion.

    1. I agree with you, but everyone gets hung on on “racism” anytime anyone tries to suggest any reforms.

      My dream is to have it easy to immigrate legally and hard to immigrate illegally.

      1. Can we get your last sentence printed on a t-shirt?! I have worked in the construction industry for a long time and one of the issues that gets very little attention is that those who are working “off the books” are extremely vulnerable to being exploited. And these are workers that we desperately need! Of course, this being the US, we’ll devote millions of dollars to deporting people who are contributing and doing the right things instead of making legal immigration workable for those who need it. Sigh.

        1. Out of curiousity, those working off the books, are they getting paid the same as those on the books (for equivalent skillsets)?

          1. Depends, but usually it means cash at the same rate, but no benefits and employer doesn’t have to deal with taxes or insurance stuff. Americans want and expect medical.

          2. That I don’t know, because it’s usually subcontractors on a job site with undocumented workers. I’ve only worked for large construction/development companies that wouldn’t go there, but what Lauren said sounds plausible to me!

  3. H-1B workers can move jobs; the new company just has to apply for an H-1B transfer before the employee can start working.

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