Trump called this visa ‘very bad’ for Americans. Truth Social applied for one

MIAMI– The social media company founded by former President Donald Trump has filed for a business visa program that he tried to restrict during his administration and that many of his allies want him to curtail in a possible second term.

Trumpmedia & Technology Group, the company behind Truth Social, filed in June 2022 for an H-1B visa for a worker with an annual salary of $65,000, the lowest wage category allowed under the program. Federal immigration records show the company was granted a visa a few months later. The company says it did not hire the employee.

Applying for the visa creates an image of Trump as a candidate, who has proposed a protectionist agenda for companies to “hire Americans,” as opposed to Trump as a businessman, who has said his companies will use every tool at their disposal to use. Records show that the investment firm, founded by Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner, also applied and was approved to hire a foreigner as an employee under the same visa program.

Trumpmedia & Technology Group said in a statement that the filing was “filed under prior management,” even though its current CEO, former House Intelligence Committee chairman and longtime Trump ally Devin Nunes, was already running the company at the time it filed. was first submitted to the US. Ministry of Labor.

“The company has never hired an H-1B visa program employee – and has no plans to do so. “When current management learned of this application, which was made under previous management, it quickly terminated the process in November 2022,” the company said in a statement.

An H-1B visa application can cost companies approximately $5,000 per employee. Companies can withdraw petitions even after they have been approved. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services registration records do not indicate when visas are revoked. But a spokeswoman for the Labor Department, which also tracks H-1B applications, said they had no record of Truth Social requesting a withdrawal.

Tech companies typically hire workers through the H-1B program. Trump has never hidden that he used the visas before becoming president. He mainly used them to bring in foreign models and some employees for his hotels and resorts, according to a review of petitions filed since 2009.

But with exceptions to renew existing applications, his companies appeared to no longer petition for H-1B visas until Truth Social was founded.

Labor Department records show a filing was made by Trump Media & Technology Group for an employee to earn $65,000. The employer lists Will Wilkerson, company co-founder and former senior vice president of operations, and an Atlanta address as the location of the job.

Wilkerson filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in August 2022, alleging the company’s violations of securities laws. According to The Washington Post, he has been fired and is cooperating with federal authorities. His lawyers said he would not comment.

Trump often talks about the arrival of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border illegally, but his policy proposals in the White House also include restrictions on legal immigration, such as family visas and the visa lottery program.

In a 2016 primary debate, Trump spoke about the H-1B visa program, saying it was “very bad” and “unfair” to American workers.

“First of all, I think and know the H-1B very well. And it’s something that, honestly, I use and I shouldn’t use. We shouldn’t have that,” he said. “Secondly, I think it’s very important to say: I’m a businessman and I have to do what I have to do.”

Three months after taking office, Trump issued his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, which directed Cabinet members to propose reforms to ensure that H-1B visas were awarded to the highest-paid or best-educated applicants to become American workers to protect. He has previously said the program was used by tech companies to get foreign workers for lower wages.

During his administration, a survey by the nonpartisan National Foundation for American Policy found the administration increased scrutiny of issues, launching requests for more information from companies seeking to hire foreign workers and denying more petitions.

The ‘Project 2025’ manual, put together by allies preparing for Trump’s possible transition to power, says the H-1B program should be transformed “into an elite mechanism that brings in only the ‘best and brightest’ at the highest wages while ensuring that American workers are not disadvantaged by the program.”

Professional, scientific and technical services companies account for more than 60% of total visa awards, said Nicolas Morales, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s research division who specializes in labor and migration. Morales said he has found that the visa program has been beneficial for small businesses to stay in business.

“Winning the H-1B lottery really helps them. It increases their chances of survival,” he says. “Over the next five years, they are more likely to remain in business, especially small businesses that rely heavily on skilled labor.”

The applications require companies to demonstrate that they will provide the foreign workers with the same benefits as U.S. workers and pay more than what they pay others with similar experience and qualifications, or more than the typical wage for that type of occupation. Companies must also notify employees of the filing by posting a notice in two places at the place of employment.

Much of the criticism of the H-1B program centers on companies offering lower-wage salaries to foreign workers. Kushner’s investment firm’s application to hire a foreign worker appears to address this complaint.

The Labor Department approved a document in which Kushner’s investment firm specified that it would pay this worker a salary of $200,000, which falls below the highest wage level for the H-1B visas typically reserved for those who are experts in their field and higher have responsibilities. Recent data from US Citizenship and Immigration Services shows that the company has been granted a visa.

Kushner has not joined the Trump campaign and is pursuing his own business interests by signing up for tourism projects in the Balkans.