By: John Cropley | March 16, 2017
The Daily Gazette
A key federal program to admit foreign workers to the United States reached its quota this week, leading Lake George and resort areas nationwide to hope there will be enough seasonal workers to run their tourism industries.
SUNY Adirondack hosted a job fair Wednesday and two major employers — Great Escape and the Sagamore Resort — are holding their hiring fairs Saturday.
But, as in years past, many Lake George employers will be relying heavily on foreign workers this summer. Barring a historic turnaround, there simply won’t be enough U.S. citizens willing to work for low wages during the nicest three or four months of the year.
“There are a ton of job openings in the area,” said Amanda May Metzger of the Lake George Chamber of Commerce.
A lot of the foreign workers come to Lake George through two federal permits: —J-1 visas are an exchange-type program typically used by students; 31,174 J-1 holders worked in New York in 2015.
—H-2B visas are for temporary non-agricultural workers and are secured by the prospective employer. The number of H-2Bs is capped at 66,000 nationwide per fiscal year.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Thursday that it had reached the quota Monday and has begun rejecting H-2B applications for any workers who would start work before Oct. 1.