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A plea for more visa workers on Cape

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A plea for more visa workers on Cape

Post  Betep on Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:40 am


A plea for more visa workers on Cape


By SARAH KURANDA
skuranda@capecodonline.com
June 13, 2013
A Cape broker who brings seasonal foreign workers into the region told a congressional panel Wednesday that 25 to 30 of the local businesses she represents are still short-staffed and struggling to keep up with heavy seasonal demands.
That's because of a government freeze on H-2B visas imposed this spring, said Jane Nichols Bishop, president of Peak Season Workforce in Mashpee, who represents more than 100 businesses.
Bishop testified before the House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access in Washington, expressing concern with the effects of a 45-day freeze on H-2B visas that began on March 22, and a rise in the wage rates mandated for workers in the H-2B program.
Both of those factors are adversely affecting the Cape Cod tourism community, Bishop said.
Many tourist areas, including the Cape and Islands, use H-2B visas to supplement the workforce.
An H-2B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign citizens to come to the United States and work temporarily, usually seasonally, in a non-agricultural job. Before hiring H-2B workers, host businesses must advertise to find American workers for those jobs. Many Cape businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, like H-2B workers because they can stay for several months, starting with the so-called shoulder seasons of spring and fall.
Businesses are required to pay H-2B workers a government-established "prevailing wage" so foreign workers are paid fairly and do not undercut American pay scales.
"The businesses will survive, but it would be best if they could be fully staffed," Bishop said before the hearing, describing one inn that had to sacrifice dinner service and how managers were working overtime as housekeepers.
"They have no choice," Bishop said of the local businesses. "They'll be exhausted before the season's done."
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I've been sitting on this article for some time now. It's just irritating me more by the day.
The Inquirer and Mirror of Nantucket copied the story.

 'Mama Visa' testifying on Capitol Hill for H2-B Visa workers.

As a 13th generation Cape Codder that works in the Hospitality Industry, I can't start to say how much this pisses me off.
 As a Foreign-Displaced Industrial Worker, I know about cutting costs that kill jobs. I also know "Success Killed Cape Cod". I will expound on this later.
 
I'll have a talk with Admin to split this topic to 'Editorial' so I can properly vent, discuss and explore the issue. Exclamation

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Betep

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Re: A plea for more visa workers on Cape

Post  Betep on Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:07 am

Cape businesses face hurdles for hiring foreign workers


By ROBERT GOLD
rgold@capecodonline.com
October 11, 2013

For nearly two hours Thursday morning, Centerville attorney Matthew Lee delved into the long list of requirements businesses have to follow when hiring temporary foreign workers with H-2B visas.

Talk of federal deadlines, forms and reporting rules filled the meeting in the Hyannis Hy-Line room during a seasonal worker forum sponsored by the Cape Cod Area Chamber of Commerce.

"This is incredibly complex," Lee said about Department of Labor and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regulations.

Lee, the managing partner of the immigration and employment firm Tocci, Goss & Lee PC, said the H-2B rules have gotten so technical that sometimes he advises clients to avoid hiring these workers.

H-2B visas allow businesses to temporarily hire foreign workers if a sufficient amount of local staff cannot be found.

The foreign workers can generally work up to 10 months at a time. Traditionally, local officials have estimated about 6,000 H-2B workers come to the Cape every year. But Lee said that number eroded over much of the past decade. He estimated it was 1,500 to 2,000 now.

Part of that was due to federal changes implemented in 2010. For example, employees must file federal notifications when the H-2B workers leave before their scheduled end date. Another new change, he said, is employers cannot pass any of the costs of the H-2B application process to workers.

Employees are required to pay H-2B workers a prevailing wage determined by the federal government.

Earlier this year, a federal judge ordered the Department of Labor to stop using its method for determining the wages. In the past, the government used a four-tier wage scale based on employer surveys. The Department of Labor instituted a new definition this May, which uses the "arithmetic mean of the wages of all the workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment."

At the meeting, Lee estimated that meant businesses paid some staff 30 to 40 percent more due to the change. Under federal law, any employer with H-2B workers must pay everyone, including local staff, at least as much as the prevailing wage.
_________________________________________________

Pay better than Level 1 wages.

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Re: A plea for more visa workers on Cape

Post  Betep on Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:26 am

[url=http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131017/OPINION/310170322/-1/OPINION01]Make H-2B simple as ABC
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October 17, 2013

There is no question that the Cape has, for many years, played temporary home to an international array of young people looking for work.

At one point, it seemed as though you could not turn around during the summer season without hearing an Irish brogue. That accent was later replaced with a Brazilian inflection, a Jamaican cadence, and the tonal qualities of a variety of eastern European countries.

Although some have argued that this influx of world travelers has left fewer jobs for local young people, the jobs that these young people take on often seem to remain vacant when they return from whence they came. And for Cape employers, especially those who need to fill a wide range of entry-level positions during the summer months, being understaffed can make the difference between success and failure in the months where failure is not an option.

These international employees have traditionally come to the Cape through the H-2B visa program, which allows foreign visitors to spend up to 10 months working in the United States. It is important to note that the jobs offered to H-2B visitors must first be made available to American workers.
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The Irish were J-1 Student Visas. The Brazilians came on Tourist Visas and stayed Illegally. Jamaicans and other Caribbeans came on H2-b Visas. Eastern Europeans come on J-1 Student Visas.
American students can't afford to stay here. Locals can't live on $10.00 an hour. Local business profit margins are up due to an under-valued labor force.
Economics 101.

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