The Trump administration didn’t waste any time in making good on campaign promises to change immigration policy. As the April lottery for H-1b visas approaches, the gaming and hospitality industry is reacting to the uncertain world of U.S. immigration law and policy.
Two nationally recognized gaming and hospitality associations, the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the National Restaurant Association, teamed with over 450,000 businesses to ask Congress to draft sensible legislation. The industry is suffering from shortages of qualified candidates and will continue to suffer if there are unreasonable restrictions put on the visas.
The Way It Stands Today
H-1B visas are for people designated as “specialty occupation” workers. The requirements for the visa are many, but the core requirements are:
. A bachelor’s degree related to the job the employee is filling
. An employee-employer relationship with the company
. Proof the H-1B visa holder will be paid the prevailing wage for their position
The visa allows for a maximum 6-year stay. The goal of many H-B1 holders is to get become a permanent resident, to get the coveted “green card.” This designation allows a person to stay in the United States indefinitely.
A company can conduct an intra-business transfer of a foreign employee into the United States with an L-1A visa if the person is a manager or executive. A company must show:
. The employee comes from a foreign business the parent U.S. company owns or controls.
. The U.S. company is actively conducting business.
. The employee seeking the visa must show continuous employment in the company for at least one year in the past three years.
. The employee must fill a legal executive or managerial position.
The L-1A visa allows a person to stay in the U.S. for up to 7 years.
Canadian and Mexican executives can apply for a special visa called the TN visa. This visa requires the employee to be:
. A citizen of Mexico or Canada
. Have a profession on the NAFTA approved list of occupations
. Be a full-time or part-time employee of the company
. Already be qualified for the job
The TN visa allows a person to stay indefinitely in the U.S. but in one-year increments.
Hospitality and Gaming Need The Experience Of International Employees
Like the technological fields, the gaming and hospitality industry employs many foreign nationals. An international and diversified staff improves customer relations and satisfaction. Specifically, a multi-national staff improves communication and sensitivity to customs.
The industry hopes any changes coming to immigration laws considers the benefits the U.S. economy gains from foreign national employees.