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Trump widens bid to hire foreign workers to Jupiter golf club

President Donald Trump is seeking to hire foreign workers at his Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter.

He has asked for H-2B visas for 10 servers and two cooks, at the same wages as Mar-a-Lago is paying.

The bid comes on the heels of the president’s reques to hire more foreign workers to staff his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach this winter.

Trump has asked his Labor Department for visas for 78 workers for the 2018-19 season, up from 70 last year.

He wants permission to temporarily hire 40 waiters and waitresses21 cooks and 17 housekeepers. Like many other Palm Beach County employers that get a bump in business during the tourist season, Trump routinely applies for H-2B visas, the temporary work permits for low-wage workers.

Before he was elected president in 2016, Trump routinely won permission to hire as many as 90 foreign workers at his private club in Palm Beach.

If the Mar-a-Lago Club is allowed to hire all of the foreign workers it has requested, some will get hefty raises.

Trump proposes paying servers $12.68 an hour, a 6.7 percent increase from last year’s $11.88. And Mar-a-Lago will pay housekeepers $10.68, up 3.4 percent from last year’s $10.33.

However, cooks will take a slight pay cut, to $13.31 from last year’s $13.34.

The Trump properties’ pay for foreign workers matches that at most other clubs in Palm Beach County. The Everglades Club in Palm Beach and The Country Club at Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens are offering identical $12.68 hourly wages to servers this winter, according to their job notices with the Labor Department.

During the 2017-18 tourist season, 27 employers -- including Mar-a-Lago and the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter -- won permission to hire a total of 789 waiters and waitresses. Nearly all of them paid $11.88 an hour.

Boca West Country Club offered the highest pay for servers, at $13.50 an hour.

And all 23 Palm Beach County employers hiring cooks through the H-2B visa program paid $13.34 an hour last year. The median wage for restaurant cooks in the county as of May 2017 was $13.77, according to the Labor Department.

A decade ago, the Mar-a-Lago Club paid foreign workers as little as $6.79 an hour. While the Trump Organization doesn’t comment about its hiring of foreign workers, guests who have dined at the club said foreign servers typically come from Romania.

As Trump makes staffing plans for his Winter White House, Palm Beach County’s labor market has heated up. Palm Beach County’s official jobless rate stood at 3.3 percent in April and May, the lowest level since 2006.

“The Palm Beach County job market is very competitive, and employers overall are having a harder time finding workers,” said Tom Veenstra, spokesman at the nonprofit CareerSource Palm Beach County.

Mar-a-Lago is one of more than two dozen Palm Beach County employers that have requested 1,950 H-2B visas for the winter of 2018-19, Veenstra said.

Mar-a-Lago asked for permission to bring in foreign workers from Oct. 1 to May 31. Trump’s club closes for the summer.

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