Judge overturns J-1 Visa Ban

summit_32

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Interesting to see that this decision has been overturned on Friday - i've read elsewhere that many resorts anticipate a busy snow season and are scrambling to fill positions across the board. Sadly i don't think the Australian Govt will accept having a job waiting for you at an overseas ski resort as a valid reason to leave the country at the moment...

From the Vail Daily:

Ski areas are cheering a decision by a federal judge in California that suspends the Trump administration’s ban on workers using temporary immigrant visas. The National Ski Areas Association is telling its more than 300 ski resort members to immediately begin taking applications from J-1 and H-2B visa workers and submitting paperwork with the federal government to get those workers in open jobs by year’s end.

“Time is of the essence here,” said the association’s head of regulatory affairs Dave Byrd, noting that it can take eight weeks to get visa applications approved by consulates in the Southern Hemisphere.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeffery S. White earlier this month suspended the Trump visa ban, arguing that “the public interest is served by cessation of a radical change in policy that negatively affects plaintiffs whose members comprise hundreds of thousands of American businesses of all sizes and economic sectors.”

But the suspension may have come too late for ski areas that, by this time of year, typically have hired workers — mostly students from Southern Hemisphere countries like Argentina, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand who use J-1 exchange visas to work at ski areas during their summer season.
 

MarzNC

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This isn't the first time that there was serious push back from an industry that depends on J-1 visas to staff their seasonal businesses. Happened a few years ago when the summer camp industry was at risk of not being able to have enough staff. The difference this time is that there are Americans who are applying for the seasonal jobs available at ski resorts. Tricky part for big resorts as always is housing. Also not clear how travel restrictions will come into play. Although most states in the Rockies do not have any travel restrictions for domestic or international travel.

The temporary order was set to expire at the end of Dec 2020. The question now is whether there will be an appeal.

https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/09/...s-may-come-too-late-for-colorado-ski-resorts/
 
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MarzNC

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If anyone wants to know more about J1/H2B visas and the ski industry in the USA, here's a podcast from July 2020 on the topic. The Storm Skiing Journal is based in the northeast. (NSAA = National Ski Areas Association)

July 10, Storm Skiing Journal and Podcast (USA)
COVID-19 & Skiing Podcast #10: NSAA Director of Risk and Regulatory Affairs Dave Byrd – Why Skiing Needs Visa Workers
https://skiing.substack.com/p/covid-19-and-skiing-podcast-10-nsaa
 

summit_32

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COVID-19 & Skiing Podcast #10: NSAA Director of Risk and Regulatory Affairs Dave Byrd – Why Skiing Needs Visa Workers
https://skiing.substack.com/p/covid-19-and-skiing-podcast-10-nsaa
Great link & podcast MarzNC !!

As Dave mentions; places like Telluride, Big Sky, Sugarloaf, Mammoth etc are a fair way from significant population centre's so will be difficult to fill positions without staff housing. Even for places like Vail or Breck - not sure i would want drive 4hrs every day from Denver for a minimum wage job cleaning a hotel room or as a lifty. They going to have to get creative to make it attractive for locals.
 

MarzNC

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Somewhere on the Big Sky website I read that they were having to re-think how to use the new staff housing in order to de-densify. Boyne has been trying hard to increase the staff beds available so it's just one more adjustment that needs thought due to the pandemic.

I know some smaller independent mountains aren't going to have base buildings open except for restrooms. That will cut down a bit on the number of staff needed not only for making food but also for cleaning up.
 
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MarzNC

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Sounds like ski resorts has generally been able to find enough staff to replace those who normally would be working under a J-1 visa. The total number for the American ski industry is usually about 7000, 5-10% of the workforce at the 470 resorts involved with NSAA.

Nov. 19, Christian Science Monitor.
Ski resorts expect a busy season. Can they find enough workers?
Even in a pandemic, people want to get outdoors. That dynamic may help ski resorts survive, but they are having to look closer to home for their staff.

https://www.csmonitor.com/Business/...t-a-busy-season.-Can-they-find-enough-workers
" . . .
The search for workers
Colleges across the U.S. are ending their in-person fall semesters once students go home for Thanksgiving and finishing their courses online until winter break to limit travel to and from campuses.

That doesn’t mean students are free from schoolwork. But Dave Byrd, NSAA director of risk and regulation, said the extended winter break and flexibility with online classes are contributing to increased interest in working at ski resorts.

“We have ironically and unexpectedly been able to take advantage of college students,” Mr. Byrd said.

In a typical year, international workers include holders of J-1 visas who fill entry-level jobs such as operating lifts, busing in lodge restaurants, maintenance, and other hospitality positions. Others are H-2B visa holders, usually professionals in their field, such as ski instructors or chefs at resorts.
. . ."
 
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iagreewithhim

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A very long way from everybody
Interesting to see that this decision has been overturned on Friday - i've read elsewhere that many resorts anticipate a busy snow season and are scrambling to fill positions across the board. Sadly i don't think the Australian Govt will accept having a job waiting for you at an overseas ski resort as a valid reason to leave the country at the moment...

I think you can leave the country any time. Getting back in is the tricky bit.
 

Cam Slee

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I used to do ski instructing on an H-2B visa.
You used to have top certification to qualify.
The only resort you could at work was the one that hired you, in this case, it was Sierra at Tahoe, California.
They did all the paperwork, had to go to the US Consulate in Melbourne to be interviewed by them.
Awesome tree skiing.
You had to leave the country as soon as your "tour of duty" was up.
An H-2B visa allowed any ages in but they were strict terms.
 
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