President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort got permission from the U.S. Labor Department to hire 70 foreign workers this winter, according to the Palm Beach Post. That marks an increase from the 64 foreign workers the south-Florida resort that has come to be known as the “Winter White House” hired last year.
The permission was awarded through the Labor Department’s H-2B visa program. The luxury resort will be hiring 20 cooks, 35 waiters, and 15 housekeepers this winter season, according to the Orlando Weekly.
Trump’s property is hardly an exception, and, in fact, other Florida resorts received permission to hire far more foreign workers through H-2B visas. The Boca West Country Club, for example, received permission to hire 367 foreign workers.
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump came under fire from other Republicans for his practice of hiring foreign workers at his resorts. Trump defended the practice, alleging it was “very, very hard to get people.” But a local nonprofit job placement agency said there were plenty of people qualified in the area for the jobs. “We currently have 5,136 qualified candidates in Palm Beach County for various hospitality positions listed in the Employ Florida state jobs database,” CareerSource spokesman Tom Veenstra said. Trump’s club rarely asks CareerSource for help in finding local qualified applicants, according to Veenstra.
As part of the H-2B program, potential employers must first place at least two ads in a newspaper seeking local workers for the job. Mar-a-Lago fulfilled that requirement by placing a tiny ad in the Palm Beach Post that didn’t give an email address or phone number and asked interested people to “apply by fax,” the Washington Post reported in August. The ad ran twice.
Beyond Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s golf club in Jupiter, Florida was granted permission to hire 10 waiters and six cooks, while Trump’s golf club in Briarcliff Manor, New York, got permission to hire eight waiters from abroad. Earlier this year, Trump increased the number of available H-2B visas by 15,000 for fiscal year 2017. In announcing the change, the Department of Homeland Security said the goal of the increase was to help “U.S. businesses in danger of suffering irreparable harm due to a lack of available temporary nonagricultural workers.”