NJBIA is urging employers to join the effort to help salvage the summer tourism season for New Jersey boardwalk businesses and amusement parks that depend on foreign students who are currently unable to obtain J-1 visas needed to participate in summer work travel programs.
Although former President Donald Trump’s previous presidential proclamation pausing the issuance of most J-1 visas expired on March 31, U.S. embassies and consulates have been providing few, if any, J-1 visa applicant interviews.
About 5,000 overseas students come to New Jersey in a typical summer to work at boardwalk businesses, amusement parks, federal parks or as lifeguards at local swimming pools where there are not enough local teenagers to fill the open positions, according to Jersey shore tourism officials who spoke at a recent New Jersey Business Coalition Town Hall.
The loss of these international student workers will create staffing shortages for seasonal businesses and impact summer tourism, which is a major contributor to the state’s economy.
“New Jersey’s tourism industry which, in 2019 generated an estimated $46.4 billion in visitor spending and $5.1 billion in state and local tax revenue, is important to New Jersey’s economic recovery efforts after COVID-19,” said NJIBA President & CEO Michele Siekerka.
“NJBIA urges all businesses to support efforts to break the logjam over J-1 visas, because it’s not just the seasonal businesses who hire international students that are impacted by the loss of the summer work travel program,” Siekerka said. “There is a ripple effect that impacts other businesses too if there are fewer tourists because an amusement park or boardwalk business has had to curtail operating hours due to staffing shortages.”
Businesses and other organizations are urged to sign on to an electronic letter to President Joe Biden by 5 p.m. Friday, April 16 as part of the BridgeUSA Coalition’s national efforts to end the delays in international student work travel visas. Go here to sign the letter.