Pizza Worker May Be Deported After 20 Years On The Job Because He Doesn’t Actually Toss Dough

Example of pizza showmanship. (Jeff Kubina)

Example of pizza showmanship. (Jeff Kubina)

What sets one pizza worker apart from all the rest, making that employee worthy of earning a visa to stay in the United States? Apparently, the ability to exhibit “showmanship,” by tossing pizza dough in the air. So after one restaurant admitted its employee couldn’t actually perform that skill, despite making that claim on a visa application, the worker in question might be deported.

A Greek pizza maker who’s worked at a Boston-area eatery for more than 20 years might have to pack up and head back across the ocean, after a federal judge ruled he couldn’t claim “showmanship” as a special skill, since he doesn’t toss the dough around at work, reports the Boston Herald.

Initially, his employers asked for a visa for the worker saying he could “exercise showmanship in preparation of food, such as tossing pizza dough in the air to lighten texture,” but admitted afterward that he doesn’t throw dough as part of his job.

After the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services denied the visa petition, the pizzeria appealed, but a U.S. District Court judge agreed with the government.

The judge wrote that in order for the man’s job skills to include “showmanship,” he’d have to do his job in a “dramatic manner.” But the court didn’t find any evidence in the worker’s record to show that he had any such skill.

“Basically, immigration said, ‘This guy can’t throw pizza, so we’re denying him the visa,’” said the restaurant’s attorney. “The court said our description really didn’t show any showmanship in any way, so they upheld the decision of immigration. I’m very surprised. I thought we were in a good position.”

The pizzeria can still appeal this ruling, and if that’s denied again, immigration authorities will likely move to deport the man.

The federal government’s requirements to get a visa on the grounds of being a specialty cook, like a sushi chef, apparently aren’t satisfied by the kinds of work anyone could do, like flipping pizzas.

“There was a very small likelihood of success in this case, given the standards the federal government uses in these situations,” one immigration lawyer not involved with the case notes. “The law requires you to look at any U.S. worker who is even minimally qualified to do the job. That’s not flipping pizzas. This wasn’t a winnable case.”

Lack of pizza ‘showmanship’ is at issue in visa case [Boston Herald]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.