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President’s action restricts foreign workers, but not at resorts

WPEC

President Donald Trump’s new “Buy American, Hire American” initiative will make it harder for companies to hire foreign workers for high-skill jobs, however will leave in place permitting for foreign workers at hotels and resorts, such as the ones owned by the Trump family.

Department of Labor records show approximately 60 foreign workers are working the current 2016-2017 season at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s Palm Beach estate.

Mar-a-Lago, like many resorts across Palm Beach, and the country, hire foreign workers the H-2B visa program.

In 2015, then candidate, Donald Trump told CBS that he relies on hiring foreign workers for his resorts across the U.S. because when it comes to hiring American workers: “…it’s very hard, either they’re not qualified, and one of the big things, it’s a seasonal job.”

For the 2016-2017 season at Mar-a-Lago, the U.S. government approved H-2B visas for:

  • 30 Waiters at an hourly rate of $11.13
  • 19 Cooks at an hourly rate of $12.74
  • 15 Housekeepers at an hourly rate of $10.17

“There are many Americans willing to take jobs,” said Shanda Bonitto.

A stay-at-home-mother of four, Shanda Bonitto says her husband juggles two jobs to make end’s meet. Her husband, works at one of the Palm Beach resorts, but is still not full time. She says she believes American workers have not been given a fair chance at having full time work at the Palm Beach resorts.

“On top of not advertising for jobs, they’re also not looking for Americans,” Bonitto said.

Florida’s Democrat Senator Bill Nelson says he believes the H-2B visa program is beneficial and it is difficult to find enough qualified American workers to fill roles that Americans may not traditionally want.

Senator Nelson also applauds President Trump’s newest executive order adding restrictions on H-1B visa work program.

“It’s not meant to replace American workers for unspecialized skill jobs and that’s where it’s been abused,” Senator Nelson said.

Senator Nelson said the H-1B visa program has been plagued with problems, allowing U.S. companies to replace American workers with high level skillsets, primarily technology and science related, with lower earning foreign workers.

The U.S. government currently allows approximately 65,000 H-1B visas to be issued each year.

“The H-1B visa program has been abused, it under the law, supposed to be where we have skilled workers that we have a shortage of, those overseas can come in, such as tech companies, and we need a specific skill set,” Senator Nelson said. “What has developed is an industry, particularly in India, where they put together workers at much lower pay to come in and do regular tasks that Americans should be hired and instead they’re replacing Americans.”

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