Aspen

It might just become easier for certified ski instructors who speak Brazilian (Portuguese), Korean, German, and other languages to get jobs at U.S. ski resorts on temporary work visas should the Senate version of the proposed immigration bill hold up.

The Coloradoan newspaper in Fort Collins is reporting that the proposed legislation includes a provision that would allow U.S. ski resorts to hire more instructors who can cater to the industry’s growing number of international visitors. Many of those visitors head to Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Vermont, and New York.

The newspaper credits U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), a member of the so-called Gang of Eight senators who wrote the legislation. The bill would qualify applicants for two types of short-term visas. Now, they can qualify for just one.

“Snow sports in this country have a $66 billion economic impact and generate a half-million jobs,” Bennet told Gannett's Washington reporters. “It’s hard to grow your business when you want to have people, for example, to come from Brazil to ski in Vail if you don’t have instructors who speak Portuguese.”

There is opposition to Bennet’s addition to the bill. Numbers USA’s Rosemary Jenks believes “its ludicrous to say that German tourists won’t come to ski in the United States unless they have a German-speaking ski instructor.”

The immigration bill is still in its early stages in the Senate. Whether that provision survives or not is anyone’s guess.

Photo: Aspen