The election of Donald Trump has trumped the news (pardon the pun) for the past few weeks and for good reason. He has made arguments for mass changes in the US ranging from immigration to healthcare that have not only shocked the nation but have countries around the world very nervous for what's to come.
Yachting in the USA may very well feel the impact of his words where he claims the US Visa system 'doesn't work' for Americans. What can we expect with B1 visas in the new year?
Many yachts travel to or through US waters and require crew to hold a valid B1/B2 or B1 working visa as a result. During his campaign he made a lot of claims and seems to have his hands full simply filling his cabinet at the moment, but make no mistake. If he fulfills his claims to increase the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and 'empower them to do their jobs', we may see a lot more crew denied entry in to the US to the point where yachts may decide to travel elsewhere. In one news article:Trump has promised no more 'catch and release' policies, but an approach that would see those in the US as a result of visa abuse 'caught, prosecuted and deported.' Much of this is targeted at cheap foreign labor coming in to work in land-based jobs, but it will undoubtedly carry over to yachting. That said, in a fun twist of events, will Trump face prosecution himself for owning companies that employ huge number of illegal immigrants? Donald Trump's plans will cut the number of H-1B, B1 and L-1 visas issued that he claims results in American workers being laid off. That said, recent revelations concerning Trump's recruitment of cheap foreign labor for many of his business ventures, including his 'well-to-do' Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, casts doubt over Trump's 'put American workers first' policy.
So in the end, we will have to wait and see.. but it's worth noting and worth thinking about. Especially if you're planning to go to the US on a 'travel' visa and to look for work while there. Or if you're having trouble finding crew with proper US visas in the coming years...