Business

Student worker visas draw complaints

Resort areas turn to foreign students for help, but some say the visa system

Every June, about 80 foreign college students arrive in Hyannis to sort laundry, iron sheets, and fold towels at Cape Cod Commercial Linen Service Inc. Students from Asia and Europe make up a quarter of the summer staff at Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham. Near Phippsburg, Maine, two dozen young adults, mainly from Eastern Europe, will spend their summer breaks working as housekeepers, dishwashers, and kitchen staff at the Sebasco Harbor Resort.

“They’re doing a lot of jobs that honestly it’s hard to find Maine kids to do,” said Bob Smith, owner of the Sebasco Harbor Resort. Without the foreign students, especially those who can stay into the fall, he added, “We’d be dead.”

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