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Low-wage, foreign workers in demand in Florida

Posted at 2:37 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 18:41:20-04

On Monday the Department of Homeland Security announced a one-time increase of 15,000 low-wage, seasonal foreign workers.

On Thursday Mar-a-Lago officials requested 70 guest workers. The club said they want to hire 15 housekeepers, 20 cooks, and 35 servers.

There are several businesses in South Florida, relying on H-2B visa workers.

Jeff Cappelletti said it’s impossible to find American workers to do the seasonal work for his businesses 9th Parallel Healthcare.

Cappelletti started the home healthcare business after his mother required care. He researched the businesses and what concerned him was how little health care workers make.

“At $11 an hour, that doesn’t buy a whole lot of loyalty,” Cappelletti said. “So those people are going to take care of our mothers and fathers.”

He decided there had to be a better way to find reliable, caring workers to take care of elderly people.

He went to the Philippines and talked to doctors and nurses, eager to work for a few weeks or months in the U.S.

“A registered nurse in the Philippines makes $350 a month,” Cappelletti said.

That means even at $11 an hour, workers make more in a week in the U.S. than in the Philippines in an entire month.

Cappelletti said he and other small business owners were on the phone with the Department of Homeland Security, expressing the need for H-2B workers, especially during the winter months in Florida.

“You have an influx of people during snowbird season and you need to be able to staff that need,”  Cappelletti said.