Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort applies for 70 foreign worker visas during 'Made in America' week

The 'Winter White House' claims it could find no Americans to fill non-agricultural seasonal jobs

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Friday 21 July 2017 14:07 BST
Mar-a-Lago has applied for 70 seasonal, foreign worker visas during the White House's 'Made in America' week
Mar-a-Lago has applied for 70 seasonal, foreign worker visas during the White House's 'Made in America' week (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida has applied for 70 visas for seasonal, foreign workers during what the White House billed as "Made in America" week.

The golf club, for which memberships cost upwards of $250,000 a year, has been referred to as the "Winter White House" by the President who was spending nearly every weekend there early on in his term.

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would expand the foreign visa worker programme to include an additional 15,000 visas on top of the quota of 66,000 for 2017.

The visas are meant for non-agricultural jobs in construction and the catch-all term: tourism.

The company is seeking 35 waiters and waitresses at Mar-a-Lago along with 20 cooks and 15 maids. A listing is also posted for six cooks at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida.

The jobs pay anywhere from $10.33 to $20.01 per hour. They run from Oct. 1 to May 31.

Between 2013 and 2015, his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida employed 246 workers on the H-2B visa. Since 2000, Mr Trump received 1,024 H-2B visas for his businesses for waiters, kitchen, and housekeeping staff, according to a CNN report.

In the past, the US leader claimed he had to hire foreign workers for Mar-a-Lago because American workers were not available during busy tourist seasons in Florida.

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The next step, as outlined by the Department of Labor, is for Mar-a-Lago to place advertisements on two separate days for the jobs in a an effort to "conduct certain recruitment to ensure that there are not qualified US workers available for the position".

They also have to contact former workers to re-recruit them.

As Jeffrey Brauwerman, a former US immigration judge and currently practising in Florida, told The Independent Mar-a-Lago would then need a "certification from the Labor Department" saying the property made a concerted effort to find Americans for these jobs but could not.

Mr Brauwerman said there are a lot of properties in Florida, "especially in the hospitality industry" that use these types of seasonal workers. People from "South Africa, Ireland, all over" come to work as servers and wait staff in restaurants.

After all this, the property can ask the DHS - that ultimately answers to the President who also still owns the club - to issue the visas.

Once hired, foreign workers can stay employed from four to 10 months. They are only allowed to legally stay in the US if they are employed when given this visa.

The news comes during a week created by the White House to dedicated to American manufacturers, "the builders, to the ranchers, to the crafters, and to all those who work every day to make America great."

Nearly every speech during his campaign promised to "bring back" US jobs to economically depressed areas of the country. He even cited how the Paris Agreement on climate change was "unfair" to American workers as a reason for pulling out of the massive global accord.

The Secret Service has not commented as yet what having seasonal foreign workers will mean in terms of vetting and security procedures should the President travel to Mar-a-Lago during their employment periods.

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