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The Asian American Hotel Owners Association Rallys its 8,000
Members to Call on Congress to Extend the H-2B Visa Program

Extending Seasonal Worker Exemption Critical

ATLANTA, Sept. 27, 2007 - With an important seasonal worker exemption set to expire on September 30, the nation's largest association of hotel owners is rallying its 8,000 members to call on Congress to help ensure that the lodging industry can meet the short- and long-term need for workers.

The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), whose members own nearly 37 percent of all lodging properties in the United States, says that unless Congress acts to extend an exemption to the H-2B visa program for repeat seasonal workers, hotels may struggle to meet the needs of guests.

"Personal service is the very heart of the lodging industry. Quite simply, hotels depend on their staff," said Fred Schwartz, AAHOA president. "Without access to a caring, committed workforce, hotels cannot perform at their best, and cannot deliver the experiences their customers expect."

Currently, the H-2B visa program allows 66,000 international workers to do seasonal labor in the U.S. for up to 10 months at a time. Hiring employees through the H-2B visa program guarantees employers that everyone on their payroll is legal. In the off-season, these employees must leave the country for at least two months. The current law effectively increases the number of eligible workers by exempting from the 66,000-person cap those workers who have participated in the program in any one of the previous three years. Senate bill 988 would extend the H-2B relief provision for five years. House bill 1843 would make the H-2B relief provision permanent. Both bills remain in committee.

According to AAHOA, modest growth in the lodging sector, which employed 1.4 million hotel property workers in 2004, is expected to result in the need for over 300,000 additional workers by 2014. Combined with seasonal surges in labor needs, the industry is seeking a long-term solution to the growing worker shortage. Despite efforts to attract and retain employees, lodging employers often cannot find enough home-grown workers to fill all of the expected vacancies.

As one of the fastest-growing organizations in the hospitality industry, AAHOA is recognized as the voice for hotel owners in the United States. Founded in 1989, AAHOA members own more than 22,000 hotels in this
country, totaling $50 billion in property value.


Asian American Hotel Owners Association

Also See: Four Utah Ski Resorts Hired 400 Student Workers from South America, Unfortunately The Four Month Life Span of a J-1 Visa is One Month Shorter Than a Ski Season / May 2007


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