Society

Trump's Clubs Using Visas To Hire More Foreign Workers

| by Ray Brown

President Donald Trump's South Florida properties applied to hire foreign workers, even after the president criticized other companies for hiring foreign workers.

According to BuzzFeed, in July 2016, Trump was looking to hire 78 workers at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, and the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, by using H-2B visas, a type of visa that allows American companies to hire temporary nonagricultural foreign workers.

H-2B visas are a way for American companies to hire workers they claim can't be found in the U.S. The jobs Trump's company is looking to fill includes basic hotel jobs, which pay $10.17 an hour for housekeepers, $11.13 an hour for servers and $12.74 for cooks.

Although Trump is not currently in charge of the day-to-day operations of his hotels, hiring foreign workers for basic hotel jobs is not a new tactic for the president's companies.

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During the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump often railed against American companies for outsourcing jobs to other countries, Trump was asked about his practice of hiring foreign workers for jobs that could potentially go to Americans.

"You can’t get help," Trump told MSNBC in September 2015, according to BuzzFeed. "Getting help in Palm Beach during the season is almost impossible."

"I can only tell you we have hundreds of people in our database that would qualify for a lot of those hospitality jobs," Tom Veenstra, a senior director at Palm Beach’s career services center, told BuzzFeed in 2015 when questions about Trump's hiring practices were first raised.

But since his election, the Trump administration is limiting tech companies' ability to use H-1B visas to hire foreign workers for basic computer programming jobs.

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A memo from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services issued March 31 gives information on new rules for the visas:

While the fact that some computer programming positions may only require an associate’s degree does not necessarily disqualify all positions in the computer programming occupation (viewed generally) from qualifying as positions in a specialty occupation, an entry-level computer programmer position would not generally qualify as a position in a specialty occupation because the plain language of the statutory and regulatory definition of "specialty occupation" requires in part that the proffered position have a minimum entry requirement of a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty, or its equivalent.

"The upshot is that a computer programming position is not automatically a specialty occupation," said Ron Hira, an associate professor at Washington D.C.’s Howard University, who studies offshore workers and high-skill immigration, according to QZ. "The burden will be on the employer to demonstrate that the computer programming position it is trying to fill with an H-1B worker meets the ‘specialty occupation’ requirement."

"The job itself must be a specialty occupation," he added.

Sources: Buzzfeed (2), QZ / Photo credit: Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post

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