H-2B visa limits causing staffing shortages in US hospitality industry
- The U.S. hospitality industry is facing critical staffing shortages since the government tightened up its H-2B visa program, reports Skift.com. Restaurants, inns and landscapers say business will be down this season because they’re unable to hire the number of workers they need.
- H-2B visas usually are capped at 66,000 a year. Lawmakers introduced a bill raising the cap to 130,000. But Skift says that the bill’s passage would likely be too late for this season. Also, the bill eliminates the measure that used to allow overseas workers to return to the U.S. year after year without being counted in the cap.
- Hospitality business owners say they rely on H-2B visas because they can’t find enough U.S. workers to fill seasonal jobs.
Attempts to keep jobs in America for U.S citizens reveal the core struggles many businesses face with immigration reform. As one business owner said, she would hire local workers first if there were enough willing to do the work.
While lawmakers and opponents of visa restrictions debate the issue, staffing shortages persist, harming the hospitality industry this season and inconveniencing vacationers, whose dollars drive the economy.
As is usual in these immigration employment cases, solutions are as deeply complex as the problem. Hospitality companies could try to offer more in wages to attract talent, but often the jobs have to compete with other hourly jobs that may appear less taxing for the same (or in some cases, more) pay.
While technology is emerging to help hospitality HR with their various pain points, HR managers can help boost retention by listening to employees and offering the benefits they need, rather than making assumptions.