As plans for more hotels continue to emerge on the Houston scene, some experts are asking how will we staff them, especially when you take into account current immigration laws that don’t provide visas for immigrants to work in the hospitality industry.
While work visas are often available for certain white collar jobs in industries such as energy, where a specific knowledge base is required, there is not a visa classification for the hospitality industry to provide a steady workforce in the service industry, said Kathryn Karam, a Houston attorney specializing in immigration and nationality law.
“That’s a big problem for the hospitality industry,” Karam said. “If the immigration laws are left the way they are, we are going to hurt for it economically.”
The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering Bill HR 15, which, if passed, could allow undocumented workers, without serious criminal offenses, who are currently working in the United States, to attain legal status.
Several Texas associations, including the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association, have come together to press Congress for immigration reform.