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Adding Diversity and Taking the Scare out of the Visa Process in the Club and Hospitality Industries

Written by: Keith A. Pabian

As someone that often speaks about visas and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residency (green cards), there are two common looks that I see in the audience when I start my presentations – a look of dread that the presentation will be boring (visas – yawn!) and one of apprehension (the visa process – that is so much work!).

As much as I would like to think that I give fun and engaging presentations, the fact is that by the end of the presentation, most in the audience are excited about the possibility of adding a diverse, multicultural staff to their existing workforce and one that is often more professional than what can be found using seasonal college students and young adults.

Traditionally, many in the U.S. hospitality and club industries have used the J-1 visa when hiring and employing foreign nationals. The J-1 visa is a temporary visa that goes through a third party company/program administrator and is usually valid for four to 12 months in duration. The hospitality organization/club is not the employer or visa sponsor; rather, it is a client of the J-1 visa program that sponsors the foreign national.

There has been a recent and ongoing trend in the hospitality and club industries to break away from the J-1 visa as organizations look to take control of their visa processes rather than go through third-party J-1 visa programs. Additionally, I hear more and more opinions from those in the hospitality and club industries that a more experienced and professional international workforce can be achieved using the H-2B seasonal visa. Another benefit is that it can be easier for the employer to bring back the same employee year after year on the H-2B visa, allowing for less training, more familiarity between the employer, employee, and the employer’s customers/patrons, and less stress in wondering if the employee will be a good staff member.

The H-2B seasonal visa is available for up to 10 months in duration and can be applied for annually. We help those in the hospitality and club industries to define their seasons of need – meaning what periods are the H-2B visa workers needed and what are the busiest months of the year for these organizations. Once the H-2B visa process is implemented, it can be a very straightforward visa route for organizations year after year.

The biggest challenge surrounding the H-2B visa process is ensuring that there is enough time to go through the application process. We always advise clients to start the process five months prior to the date that they need their H-2B visa workers. Therefore, if your organization is interested in learning more about the H-2B visa process, it is worth starting the discussions as early as possible to ensure that there is enough time to go through the process.

If your organization is interested in a diverse, multicultural, and professional workforce, it may be worth looking into the fun and not at all scary world of visas!

To learn more about adding international employees to your workforce and navigating the visa process attend the upcoming HFTP Prolinks Webinar on September 18, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. CST.

Keith A. Pabian is an immigration attorney at Pabian Law, LLC.  He has developed a unique niche in representing organizations in the club and hospitality industries across the United States in visa and immigration matters. He can be reached at keith@pabianlaw.com or +1 (617) 939-9444. This article was prepared for educational use only.

Passwords, it’s as easy as 123

Written by: Bob Russo


Are you still using the default password that came with your point of sale (POS) or payment system? Or, using 12345 or password1? If so, you need to change it right away to help protect card holder data. Passwords are one of the easiest ways for criminals to sneak in to access information if not updated from the default or, if passwords are too simple, it can also make it easy for data thieves to break in. And we all know the low hanging fruit always gets tapped first. Read More »

ANOTHER Credit Card Breach — What Now?

Written by: Frank Wolfe, CAE

The recent data breaches at major retail outlets such as Target, Michaels Stores Inc. and Neiman Marcus brought this type of modern crime to the forefront in the minds of the consumer; and for us in the hospitality community, it really hit home when news surfaced of a breach at White Lodging properties throughout the United States. For those who were not able to keep up with the “screaming headlines’ about this incident, one thing that both consumers and credit card retailers were warned about is that there would be more to come … and obviously they have. I am going to also predict that there will be even more of these that we will hear about over the next few months from other types of businesses and organizations.  Regardless of the tens of millions of dollars industries spend to protect credit card data, criminals who try to steal this data are constantly attacking our information systems and eventually they get lucky — for a short time. As in these recent cases, they were shut down. Read More »

Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy Your Education

Written by: Steven Stout, CAE

One of the many benefits offered as part of being an HFTP member is access to the ProLinks Webinar Archives. Here members can select from a long list of hot topics offering over 75 hours of education.

Not able to join us at a face-to-face meeting? Or are the regular scheduled webinars offered at an inconvenient time for your individual schedule? HFTP members can access ALL webinars HFTP has ever offered whenever and wherever works for them.

How do I get to the Archives? Simply visit www.hftp.org then log-in. Visit the Webinars page and look for the HFTP ProLinks Webinar Archive link at the bottom of the page. Current HFTP members will find an an entire list of recordings and accompanying handouts to choose from.

With topics ranging from PCI Compliance to Club Technology Issues – members can seek out the topic that is on their radar and watch these quick one hour sessions.

There are even opportunities to see various perspectives on certain “hotter” topics which may have been offered one or more times during the creation of ProLinks Webinars. Read More »

[Ask the Experts] HITEC 2013 Keynote: David Wolman

Written by: Administrator

As we lead up to HITEC 2013 in June, HFTP Connect will be talking to our keynote speakers about their expertise and how it relates to thehospitality industry through the Ask the Experts column.

An Expert View on the Monetary Revolution

David Wolman is a contributing editor at Wired. He has also written for such publications as the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalTime, Outside, NewsweekDiscoverForbes, New Scientist and Salon, and his work appeared in Best American Science Writing 2009. A former Fulbright journalism fellow in Japan and graduate of Stanford University’s journalism program, he now lives in Portland, Ore. where he received a 2011 Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. David has written three books since 2005 with the latest being The End of Money, published by Da Capo Press in February 2012. Read More »

Bi-annual HFTP Compensation & Benefits Survey Released

Written by: Tanya Venegas


Results of the 2012 HFTP Compensation & Benefits Survey are available. In addition to providing basic compensation and benefits information such as salaries, bonuses and retirement plans; the survey digs a little deeper by analyzing other various factors such as certifications, property characteristics, and demographic information. This information can be utilized for multiple purposes including salary comparisons, budgeting processes, staffing guidelines, contract negotiation and benefit standards. Read More »

Summary of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

Written by: By Mayur T. Dalal

On January 1, 2013, both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Here are some key highlights of the new “Act.” These provisions are effective for the 2013 tax year, except where otherwise specified. With over 100 changes to the Tax Code, we have put together a summary of the changes that will impact businesses. Read More »

Pay or Play? Deciding on Employee Health Care Coverage

Written by: Jane Schmitz, CHAE

Pay or Play?

I started my second day listening to the Thursday Keynote’s, Shawn Achor’s, excellent presentation on how concentrating on the positives improves your career success. I ended the day wondering how I was going to apply his principles to dealing with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act after attending the government update session with Brad Steele.

Every club, hotel and business in America with over 50 full time employees has a very difficult decision ahead of them. To Pay or to Play? Do we pay the fines and not offer employee health insurance, or do we offer employee health insurance and pay the fines? Yes, there are fines in both of those options, it is not a typo. Read More »

5 Things the Hospitality Industry Has Taught Me

Written by: Katy Walterscheidt

When I started with HFTP in 2007, I barely understood the need for an association of hospitality finance and technology professionals. I didn’t know much about the industry beyond my personal traveling experiences. But boy has this industry taught me a lot.

Today is my last day with HFTP.

Unfortunately, I’m not only leaving a wonderful job with amazing coworkers and members, I’m also leaving a city I’ve grown to love the past nine years – Austin, Texas.

As I’ve been preparing to leave, there are a few things I’ve realized that the hospitality industry has taught me. And I thought I’d share them with you in one last post.

5 Things the Hospitality Industry Has Taught Me

1. Be (extra) courteous

As a southern girl, I was taught to be courteous. But the hospitality industry takes courtesy and service to a whole new level. Showing true hospitality to guests is obviously a major part of this industry. And I find myself becoming more sensitive to customer service and appreciation. Making sure I say hello more, thanking people for a job well done and filling out surveys even when I only have good things to say (not just when there are bad experiences).

I think with great service comes great people…because the hospitality industry is a fun group of people! Not only is this a tight-knit industry, it’s also a friendly one. HFTP members, conference attendees and hospitality vendors have been some of the nicest people I’ve met. I’m going to truly miss all the friendly smiles at HFTP conferences and events. Read More »

[HFTP Greater Puget Sound] Another Educational Success

Written by: Jessica Vint, CHAE

HFTP is so much more than a “meeting on the third Thursday.”

For those of us that participate – we know that.

That’s why we’re so passionate about it.

For example:  The Greater Puget Sound Chapter, based in Seattle, Wash.,  recently held their annual half day seminar. What a success!

It’s valuable to have information on the tip of your tongue

I mean, who doesn’t want to sit in a room and discuss the Department of Labor or the Seattle Sick Leave Act or area union activity?

Then you get hit with the “stunner” that your garbage bags in the kitchen should actually be clear, not black so managers can see what is being thrown away (or actually taken away under your very eyes) – a big thanks to Steve Argo for giving us that small but important tip.

Who knew that Commitment actually creates value controlling food costs?

Then to close out – IP101 (Internet Protocol) – aren’t you on the edge of your seat now?

It is so valuable to have this information on the tip of your tongue when you’re at your property or club. Everything I learned in those five hours are applicable items to be taken away and applied at my property.

“Bye bye black garbage bags, the new kitchen fashion is clear!”

How is your chapter advancing your education?

As Google always lets me know when an HFTP posting comes around – I ask – what is your chapter doing?

The Mid-South Atlantic region hosts their conference each year. Florida is always having a golf tournament and conferences. And Seattle’s half day seminar is rocking (but not due to earthquakes).

Challenge your chapter board to take your membership to the next level and offer some incredibly valuable education that is zero-based applicable. And let your employer know that HFTP is a place where you can learn, implement and propel your property with fantastic learned cost controls.


Jessica Vint, CHAE, is regional controller for The Hotel Group in Edmonds, Wash. She is also a director on the HFTP Global Board.


HFTP Chapter leaders: Want to learn more about how you can plan your own educational event or provide unique opportunities for your chapter? Then you won’t want to miss HFTP’s Leadership Summit in October.

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