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J-1 Visas, Which Bring Hundreds Of International Workers To Valley, On Hold After Trump Order

Jun 24, 2020

J-1 visa holders are often hired as seasonal workers in Aspen's tourism industry. Nearly 900 worked in Aspen, Snowmass, and Glenwood Springs last year.
Credit Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The Trump administration extended a freeze on green cards and put a hold on a variety of temporary work visas this week, blocking them until at least January. Included in the hold are J-1 visas, temporary work permits that bring hundreds of seasonal employees to the Roaring Fork Valley every year.

Aspen, Snowmass, and Glenwood Springs combined to host 893 J-1 visa holders last year. The permits are described as a means of “cultural exchange” and are commonly used in the local tourism industry to employ young foreigners in restaurants and shops. 

The Aspen Skiing Company employs “several hundred” people using J-1 visas each year, according to the Aspen Daily News.

The order from President Trump also puts a hold on H1-B visas, often used by U.S. technology companies. The administration described the measure as a way to free up jobs for Americans during times of high unemployment.