News: DESPERATE FOR DANCERS

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Subject: News: DESPERATE FOR DANCERS
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Apr 16 1999 - 10:53:21 EDT


DESPERATE FOR DANCERS
IMMIGRATION LAW QUIRK HAS STATE ADVERTISING FOR NIGHTCLUB HELP
BY TIM COLLIE
The Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), April 15, 1999

Are you an experienced exotic dancer with an ear for music, a talent for
choreography and a willingness to work nights for $11 an hour?

Then send your resume now to the Florida Department of Labor and Employment
Security.

The state is looking for qualified exotic dancers willing to relocate to
Stuart, according to a newspaper classified ad published Wednesday. At
least one Stuart nightclub is so desperate for good help that it is seeking
to import foreign dancers for jobs in today's tight labor market.

"Exotic Dancer,'' the ad under Miscellaneous Employment reads. "40 hrs. per
wk, 7 p.m.-3 a.m. $11 per hr. Job located in Stuart, FL.

"Requires 4 yrs experience in the job offered. Perform modern and acrobatic
dances, coordinating body movements to musical accompaniment. Choreographs
own dance movements. Send resume to Dept. of Labor/Bureau of Workforce
Program Support.''

The ad in The Palm Beach Post is part of a process required of employers
who wish to import foreign workers under U.S. immigration laws. First these
employers must prove that qualified local workers can't be found.

"This is just one more aspect of a tight job market,'' said Linda King, a
department administrator. "In Florida we're basically at full employment,
so finding qualified workers for many jobs is very difficult.''

Under a federal process known as the Alien Labor Certification Process, the
state must advertise jobs for three days in local journals for any employer
seeking immigrant labor. The department then collects the resumes and
passes them on to the employer, or certifies that nobody responded to the job.

If the employers pass this hurdle, they must then petition the Immigration
and Naturalization Service to bring in guest workers under a variety of
programs.

Federal confidentiality laws prevented King from identifying the business,
but the job description used in Wednesday's ad came from the Dictionary of
Occupational Titles, a federal guidebook that lists the qualifications for
nearly every job offered in the United States. Though "exotic dancer'' is
not listed, "striptease'' as a subcategory of "dancer'' is a federally
defined job classification.

"The whole point is to protect U.S.-authorized workers,'' said King. "We
want to make sure that there aren't workers already in this country who
want and can do these jobs."

The process, which often lasts two years or more, is a common headache for
businesses such as ethnic restaurants that demand specialized types of skills.

"It does look silly that the state is looking for exotic dancers, but this
is often a very absurd, cumbersome process,'' said Joel Steward, a Fort
Lauderdale immigration attorney.

"We usually deal with this all the time for businesses like Japanese
restaurants who need sushi chefs,'' said Stewart. "It's very hard to find
Americans who can roll sushi. Most just don't know how to do it.''

Melanie Orhant

Co-Director
Human Trafficking Program
Global Survival Network

P.O. Box 73214
Washington, DC 20009
T: 387-0028
F: 387-2590
Email: morhant@igc.org
www.globalsurvival.net


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