Trump’s Virginia Winery Is Hiring Foreign Workers Because Americans Aren’t Applying

Mar 21, 2017

Trump Winery can’t find American citizens who want to work on the vineyard farm.

Trump Vineyard Estates, located in Charlottesville, Va., has asked to bring in a total of 29 workers this season to pick grapes and cultivate vines at the vineyard.

While Donald Trump has called on businesses to “hire American,” his son’s winery reportedly can’t find Americans who want the job. Eric Trump owns Trump Winery, and he oversees the winemaking, marketing, global distribution and sales operations.

“It’s difficult to find people,” Libby Whitely, an attorney who has worked with employers—including Trump Winery—on labor services, told the Daily Progress newspaper.

The vacant jobs at the winery involve planting, cultivating and pruning grape vines. The winery first applied to hire six foreign workers in December 2016, and upped its ask by 23 in February.

Trump Winery is applying for workers through the federal H-2A visa program, which is a temporary work visa allowing foreign workers to do seasonal agricultural work in the U.S. Employers must file an application with the Department of Labor to hire such workers after stating they’ve been unable to find U.S. citizens to fill the jobs.

Vineyard farm workers in Virginia must be paid $10.72 per hour and be provided with reliable housing and transportation should their workplace require them to be away from their residence overnight.

Even though Trump Winery’s initial application to hire six workers was widely publicized by news outlets, Whitely said it did not translate into local interest.

“Guess how many applicants we had? Thirteen,” she said. “And they were all from places like the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria. We did not have one American worker apply on [the first job order].” Fortune asked Trump Winery whether it had filled any of the initial six positions and to confirm the new visa applications but didn't immediately hear back.

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