Ocean City Today

J-1 visa fact: more jobs than people

Sep 07, 2017



printed 09/08/2017


The reason more American workers aren’t filling seasonal positions in Ocean City isn’t that J-1 visa students are displacing them, or that these international students appeal to employers because they have a better work ethic. There’s more to it than that.

Despite the frequent refrain that U.S. kids just don’t want these kinds of jobs anymore, a more likely factor in the surge of J-1 student workers in the resort area is that the Ocean City job market has grown beyond the regional workforce’s ability to accommodate it.

All anyone needs to do to confirm that is to look around at the hotels built in the last 10 years. Add to that the restaurant industry’s expansion in town, in West Ocean City, Berlin and Ocean Pines, and the rise in the number of other seasonally oriented enterprises in all these locations.

And then, there’s the question of housing. Summer housing was never cheap relative to the wage scale, but it’s more expensive now than it was decades ago when a young person from the Baltimore area could work here, have fun and maybe break even or even make a little money.

It’s not as easy as that today, which would be why so many international students sign up for one job before their arrival and, once here, easily find additional employment because of the many unfilled positions available.

This gives these students the extra money they need while they experience life in the U.S., which, obviously, means nothing to people who already live here.

To suggest that American students or older workers would step into this jobs void if given the chance, overlooks the fact that these work opportunities continue to exist. There are just more of them than there are people to fill them.

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