Corporate titans NextEra Energy, Office Depot and Jarden Corp. use the H-1B visa program to hire skilled foreign workers in Palm Beach County. So do Florida Atlantic University, Lynn University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, the Palm Beach County school district and Scripps Florida.
But Palm Beach County’s most active users of H-1B visas are companies you’ve probably never heard of. The top four, based on the Post’s dive into data from the U.S. Department of Labor:
- MakeUrCareer LLC has H-1B visas for 215 programmers and software engineers based at its downtown Lake Worth address, although the company’s phone number is in the Seattle area, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Naztec International of West Palm Beach has H-1B visas for 84 workers in Palm Beach County, mostly systems engineers, software developers and programmers making $30 an hour.
- Ultimate Care Inc. of Delray Beach has H-1B visas for 30 workers in Palm Beach County, mostly nurses and physical therapists making $24 to $28 an hour.
- Office Depot has 14 H-1B visa workers at its Boca Raton headquarters. They’re mostly tech positions paying $52,000 to $154,000 a year.
Employers say a shortage of skilled American workers forces them to turn overseas, and Silicon Valley companies have lobbied for years for more H-1B visas. During a visit to Wisconsin this week, President Donald Trump called for a “Buy American and Hire American” policy that would tighten the availability of H-1B visas.
H-1B visas “should include only the most skilled and highest-paid applicants and should never, ever be used to replace American workers,” Trump said.
Trump, of course, has been an avid employer of foreign workers through the H-2B visa program, which allows employers to bring in low-wage workers for seasonal work.
Last year, Trump won permission to hire 64 workers at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, including 19 cooks at $12.74 an hour, 30 waiters and waitresses at $11.13 an hour and 15 housekeepers at $10.17 an hour. Their visas expire May 31.
The highest-paid H-1B visa worker in Palm Beach County is the $300,000-a-year chief executive of the nonprofit Johnson Scholarship Foundation. The federal visa database doesn’t name names, but the head of the foundation is Malcolm Macleod, a native of Nova Scotia.
No. 2 on the pay list is the chief operating officer of Max Planck Florida, at $238,125. That position is held by Matthias Haury, a European scientist who joined the Jupiter lab in 2013.
Most of the H-1B visas are granted to workers with technical bona fides, executive experience, foreign language acumen or health-care skills that Florida employers are in short supply. But there are a few head-scratchers. Among FAU’s 14 H-1B visas, for instance, are work permits for a $60,000 assistant professor of English language and a $43,460 instructor of communications.