Adding Diversity and Taking the Scare out of the Visa Process in the Club and Hospitality Industries
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (617) 939-9444. This article was prepared for educational use only.
As we lead up to HITEC 2014 in June, HFTP Connect will be talking to various hospitality professionals about specific areas of the industry through the Ask the Experts column.
Cindy Estis Green is the CEO and co-founder of Kalibri Labs, LLC., with a career spanning thirty-five years in the hospitality industry. Green spent 12 years as managing partner of The Estis Group providing consulting to hospitality organizations. Co-author of the 2012 Distribution Channel Analysis: A Guide for Hotels, Estis Green has been inducted into the prestigious HFTP Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. She is also a frequent speaker at hospitality industry conferences and is currently a member of the HITEC Advisory Council.
1. How is your specialty changing? How will it evolve over the next two to five years?
The area of distribution and digital has changed dramatically and continues to do so as new vendors enter the space and as consumers adopt new technology as part of the travel experience whether it’s shopping, buying, part of the stay or sharing about a stay. The pace of change is rapid now and not slowing down. This will continue to add many more options for the consumers and create change in the way hotel brands provide services to their hotels. Read More »
Editors Note: Since the publication of this article, movement to regulate e-cigarettes by the FDA has progressed. On the local government level and in other countries e-cigarettes have been banned in public places or banned all together. Recently, the European Parliament rejected a proposal to regulate e-cigarettes as medical devices.
The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) boasted the largest show floor in its history featuring more than 3,200 exhibitors. It was a sight to see, with a lot of improvements on things we have been hearing about in the industry for quite a while.
One trend that really stood out to me was the proliferation of e-cigarette vendors and users. The growth in sales of the e-cigarette will likely make it a habit that’s here to stay. Many large tobacco companies seem to think so, including R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Altria (think Marlboro).
The faculty experts at the Kendall College School of Hospitality Management recently released its trends outlook for the hospitality industry for 2014. The hospitalitymanagement program is highly regarded in the Chicago for preparing students for careers in the hospitality industry. With the combined collaboration of the entire faculty from the hospitality program, they were able to come with this infographic that provides a lot of insight into the top trends within the hospitality industry for the upcoming year. I’ve highlighted some of the more interesting findings below: Read More »
Ranking highly on TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index, a rating system based on quantity, quality and recency of customer reviews, is the best way to draw new customers to your hotel. Knowing that responding to reviews can entice others to write their own, the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin jumped 26 spots to become the highest rated hotel in the city. But how exactly did it happen? Read More »
In two years we will have forgotten that there was actually a “year of the tablet.” As mobile, hand held computing will become so ubiquitous in the operation of our business.
Tablet productivity will come from two sources. The guest and the hotel employee.
The guest becomes another user on your system without the training you would normally give to your staff. They make reservations, will check themselves into your hotel, order room service, request towels, all with no training.
Now just think of the effect tablets in the hands of your employees will have. They will be mobile, but more importantly, training times will be greatly reduced. You will even be able to train a general manager or director of sales to check a guest into the hotel. Read More »
The REALLY Big Show
The “rise” occurred on Tuesday afternoon and It was a REALLY big show starring senior people from Facebook, Google, Trip Advisor and Room 77. The stage was groaning with all these heavyweights in one place. Cindy Estis-Green did a great job in getting each to discuss their strategies of:
She had two pundits that started the Q&A into a frank and lively discussion. Read More »
The exhibit hall opened for business on Tuesday, and there’s a frenzied dynamic on the floor ever since; it reminds me of a busy beehive or ant hill in a sophisticated kind of way. Realizing time is a common enemy for client and vendor alike — with only three days to work with — opportunity must be sized up in the blink of an eye. It’s been a long wait since last year’s spectacle and it’ll be another’s year time before the next gathering.
The psychology of the event is interesting to me to dissect. There are entertainers, free refreshments, stress balls and toys scattered around, looking to catch our primal attention. Many of the key players set up in large aesthetically inviting displays near the main entrance, while smaller entrepreneurial outfits were based further from the beaten path. There is an element of Darwinism to the individual offerings. It will be interesting to see the businesses becoming more prominent next year and others replaced by more marketable ideas. Read More »
It’s been years since my last HITEC, but the overall feeling of being here has remained unchanged. Here, I am warmly reminded of my college days: the excitement of building upon ideas, reconnecting with familiar faces after a long summer break, and somehow juggling assignments with intense nightlife. The semester is moving quickly and soon the test of the real world will again be upon many of us, hopefully armed with the latest tools to tackle tomorrow’s problems. In these few days, the swift waters of information are powering the mills of my mind in learning and distilling the latest trends. Read More »
There is debate whether flash sales web sites are a blessing or a curse for the lodging industry. Blessing because these web sites alleviated the depressed demand induced by the recession. A curse because these web sites have turned into a “pac-man” draining revenues away from the lodging industry. Flash sales in the lodging industry (e.g. Groupon Getaways, LivingSocial Escapes, Jetsetter, etc.) thrived as they gobbled up unused hotel room inventory. In its first year of operation, LivingSocial Escapes, for example, featured hotel deals from about 800 properties, sold about 500,000 room nights, which corresponds to about 45,000 room nights per month, and 1,500 travelers per night. These are impressive stats for any form of a distribution channel that helps to sell perishable inventory. But, what are flash sales web sites? How do they work? And, are they beneficial or detrimental to the U.S. lodging industry? Read More »