Contributed by Melanie Corrin, Senior Attorney
As Colorado ski areas gear up for the winter season, some staffing executives may be concerned over how to fill the gap of needed employees. The population of Breckenridge, CO increases from 3,400 to 36,150 people during the winter season!
With increase in population, comes the need of a town and a mountain to cater to its customers. Finding workers to fill that need is often difficult, and oftentimes the ski industry looks to foreign nationals to come and work in the United States. Unfortunately, the immigration regulations allowing for seasonal workers are restrictive and difficult to navigate. Add to the difficulty that the Immigration & Nationality Act only allows a total of 66,000 seasonal workers nation-wide each year, and many of our local ski areas are looking for other options.
Some positions in the ski areas don’t necessarily require only a seasonal need, but also a particular athletic skill set. Many professional athletes are looking for a place to train during the season, and also a place where they can be eligible for employment. This is where a P-1 visa for Professional Athletes or an O-1 visa for internationally acclaimed athletes might help for businesses who have missed the 66,000 cap, or have a different need in employment. Now may be the time to see what other avenues may be available for employees that you are seeking given that the winter season is just around the corner.
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