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Hiring Foreign Hotel Workers to Address Labor Shortage: H-2B and EB-3 Visas

November 18, 2022

The extreme labor shortage in the hotel industry in the U.S. is expected to continue into 2023, and the years to come. Currently, the shortage is approximately 400,000 jobs with 87% of U.S. hotels reporting staffing shortages]. To make matters worse, the shortage is only expected to grow in the future. Our clients in the hotel industry have addressed this shortage through hiring overseas workers that are ready, willing and able to fill their hotel positions in the U.S.

Specifically, there are two immigration routes that our clients utilize to hire foreign hotel workers (1) H-2B Visa (Temporary Worker) and (2) EB-3 (Green Card). The H-2B visa process, a temporary visa type, can allow an employer to bring workers within two to three months. Whereas the EB-3 process, a permanent solution, can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months. A brief overview of these visa types that we use for our clients is described below.

H-2B Visa
One of the quickest routes to bringing hotel employees to the U.S. is through the H-2b visa. The H-2B program can be used by employers that demonstrate temporary, seasonal, or peak-load shortage of staff and need of additional workers- this is often the case for our clients in the hotel industry that have peak seasons. The H-2B program process typically takes 5 to 8 months to complete. Through this visa type, hotel workers can come to the U.S. and work for up to 9 months in a one-year period with the initial approval. Thereafter, the employee must leave for a period of three months and can come on an H-2B visa again for another 9 months (total of 27 months of employment).

Employers of the H-2B workers are obligated to pay for the visa application, flight tickets and accommodation of the workers, as well as to pay them the wage determined by the Department of Labor to protect them from exploitation. Typically, these costs are well worth it for our hotel industry clients that need workers now.

Additionally, the employer’s family (spouse and children under 21) can also accompany the employee under the dependent H-4 visa.

EB-3 (Green Card)
The EB-3 visa is a more permanent solution to bringing hotel employee to the U.S. Under the EB-3 category, an employer can sponsor the hotel employee to come to the U.S. to work in permanent position (green card). Generally, this process can be completed within 12 to 24 months. Under this category, an employer can petition for a foreign person to come to the U.S. to fill an employment position if the employer was not able to find a suitable employee from the American workforce- something that can very easily be shown for most hotels.

Additionally, the employer’s family (spouse and children under 21) can also immigrate with the employee.

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