Cap on foreign worker visas impacting NH tourism


>>WELCOME TO NEW HAMPSHIRE’S
BUSINESS. I’M FRED KOCHER. TOURISM, ONE OF THE BIGGEST
PIECES OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE
ECONOMY AND THIS SUMMER THERE
AREN’T ENOUGH WORKERS, LOCAL OR
FOREIGN. WE’LL TALK WITH MY GUESTS IN A
MINUTE. AND HER IS A QUOTE FROM GOVERNOR
CHRIS SUNUNU WHO SAYS THIS IS
HAVING A NEGATIVE IMPACT AND
THAT’S WHAT HE SAID TO THE U.S. LABOR AND HOMELAND SECURITY IN
WASHINGTON. AND THAT’S AFTER HAVING TALKED
WITH LEADERS OF THE TOURISM
INDUSTRY IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. HERE IS WHAT THEY’RE TALKING
ABOUT. THE FEDERAL CAP ON H 2 B WORK
VISAS, BETWEEN APRIL 1ST AND
SEPTEMBER 30TH, ASKS FOR 47,000
WORKERS ACROSS THE U.S. AND ONLY
33,000 VISAS AVAILABLE FOR THE
PERIOD. NOW IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, EMPLOYER H
2 B VISA REQUESTS, 2017, THIS
YEAR 633 AND CERTIFIED POSITIONS
TO DATE. 441. YOU CAN SEE THE DIFFERENCES. NOW, HERE ARE CERTIFICATIONS FOR
WORKERS. LANDSCAPING AND GROUNDS KEEPING
AND A LOT IS MORE GOL COURSES. WAITERS AND WAITRESSES AND
COOKS. WITH ME ARE TWO PEOPLE WHO
DEPEND ON H 2 B VISAS, LOCAL AS
WELL AS FOREIGN WORKERS AND THEY
ARE JANE O’CONNOR, PRESIDENT,
WHITE MOUNTAIN ATTRACTIONS.>>THANK YOU.>>NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE AND
JOHN SOLOMON, THE RESORT IN
NORTH CONWAY.>>THANK YOU.>>LET ME ASK YOU BOTH QUICKLY
HOW MUCH YOU DEPEND, JOHN, HOW
MUCH DO YOU DEPEND ON THE
FOREIGN WORK VISAS. I KNOW, AFTER YOU’VE TRIED TO
HIRE LOCAL FOLKS FIRST?>>SURE, LOCAL IS ALWAYS THE
FIRST. WE ADVERTISE EVERYWHERE WE CAN
AND THE FOREIGN WORKERS, IT’S A
SUPPLEMENT. AND IT’S BEGINNING TO THE POINT
THAT WE NEED THEM. FRED: YOU NEED THEM AND YOU’RE
NOT GETTING ENOUGH.>>CORRECT. FRED: WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN
THIS SUMMER?>>IT’S GOING TO BE A CHALLENGE.>>WE NO LONGER PETITION FOR
THEM AND WE’VE HAD TO GO TO
OTHER VISAS WITH THE J- INTERNS
AND TRAVEL.>>THERE ARE OTHER RESOURCES?>>YES, BUT THEY’RE MORE AND
MORE COMPLICATED AND
COMPETITIVE. FRED: WHAT KIND OF WORKERS DO
YOU HAVE AT THE RED JACKETS THAT
WOULD USE THE VISAS.>>WE HAVE WATER PARK EMPLOYEES,
KITCHEN, HOUSE KEEPERS, WAITERS,
FRONT DESK, PRETTY MUCH EVERY
POSITION, EVERY LINE LEVEL
POSITION WE’RE FINDING THAT
WE’RE SHORT BECAUSE WE’RE 2.2% UNEMPLOYMENT RIGHT NOW IN
CARROLL COUNTY. FRED: RIGHT, IT’S A TIGHT LABOR
MARKET. JANE, FIRST OF ALL, WHITE
MOUNTAIN ATTRACTIONS.>>IN THE MOUNTAINS FROM YOUR
RESORTS UP TO YOUR ATTRACTIONS,
THE MAJOR ATTRACTIONS IN THE
AREA. SO, WE DO EVERYTHING FROM–
>>THE RAILWAY.>>THE RAILWAY, CLARKS TRADING
POST, ALL THE ONES YOU HEAR
ABOUT AND PEOPLE FROM AROUND NEW
HAMPSHIRE AND NEW ENGLAND VISIT
EVERY SUMMER. FRED: THEY’RE DEPENDING ON WORK
VISAS FROM THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT?>>YES, WE HAVE A VERY LOW
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE LESS THAN 3%
IN THE STATE STATE-WIDE SO WE
NEED TO SUPPLEMENT THOSE WITH
FOREIGN WORKERS WHEN WE CAN. FRED: WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT ON
THE TOURIST INDUSTRY IN NEW
HAMPSHIRE, WHITE MOUNTAIN
ATTRACTIONS IN PARTICULAR, IF
THERE AREN’T ENOUGH WORKERS
EITHER LOCAL OR FOREIGN?>>WELL, WE’RE ALREADY SEEING
THAT FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF
YEARS, IT’S GOTTEN TOUGHER AND
TOUGHER TO GET THE VISAS, SO
WE’VE START TODAY SEE
RESTAURANTS THAT ARE CLOSED FOR A DAY OR TWO A WEEK. ATTRACTIONS THAT ARE NOT OPENING
SAY SOME SECTIONS OF
ATTRACTIONS. SOMETIMES IT’S VENDORS OR SHOPS,
ET CETERA, THAT ARE NOT ABLE TO
FULLY OPEN AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
THAT OCCURS IS THAT THE AMERICAN
WORKERS IN THAT PLACE ARE NOT
ABLE TO WORK EITHER. IF THE RESTAURANT SHUTS DOWN FOR
A COUPLE OF DAYS, THEN NOBODY
HAS A JOB. FRED: RIGHT. JOHN, SAME QUESTION. WHAT’S THE IMPACT ACROSS THE
TOURISM INDUSTRY IN THE STATE
BECAUSE OF THIS DILEMMA?>>IT’S GOING TO BE HUGE BECAUSE
THERE’S ONLY ONE WORK FORCE, AND
THE COMPETITION IS GOING TO
START GOING AFTER THAT SAME WORK
FORCE, AND IF WE DON’T HAVE THE
SUPPLEMENTAL POSITIONS COME INTO THE COUNTRY AND COME TO OUR
RESPECTIVE ORGANIZATIONS, THEN
WE’RE GOING TO STRUGGLE TO BE
ABLE TO CREATE THE SAME CUSTOMER
SERVICE LEVELS AND CREATE THE
PRODUCTS THAT NEED TO BE OUT THERE. FRED: WELL, I WANT TO WISH YOU
BOTH A LOT OF SUCCESS THIS WAY
AND I HOPE YOU CAN FIND THOSE
WORKERS LOCALLY IN NEW
HAMPSHIRE, PAY ATTENTION TO ANY
OF YOU COLLEGE STUDENTS, FOR INSTANCE, THAT ARE LOOKING FOR
JOBS. HERE ARE SOME POSSIBILITIES
RIGHT HERE. JAYNE O’CONNOR, PRESIDENT OF
WHITE MOUNTAIN ATTRACTIONS AND
JOHN SOLOMON OF WHITE MOUNTAIN
RESORT.>>THANK YOU. FRED: IF YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO
THAT AGAIN AND GET IDEAS OF
WORKING IN THE NORTH COUN

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