Foreign models say they worked illegally through Trump's agency

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According to a new report from Mother Jones, three foreign models who came to the United States to work for the company claim that they not only worked illegally for the agency on tourist visas but also faced sweatshop-like conditions and, in some instances, were encouraged to lie to immigration services.

Mother Jones published its in depth report on Trump Model Management on Tuesday, chronicling the story of three models who worked for the agency in the early 2000s. Two other former Trump models - who requested anonymity to speak freely about their experiences, and who we are giving the pseudonyms Anna and Kate - said the agency never obtained work visas on their behalf, even as they performed modeling assignments in the United States. "It is like modern-day slavery" Blais added.

Most of those models who did get the proper paperwork obtained an H-1B visa, designed for "specialized workers". Despite earning tens of thousands of dollars for the agency, Blais said she received only one check from Trump Model Management, for $8,000. The investigation follows a Politico piece questioning the background of Melania Trump, the Republican nominee's would-be first lady.

Donald Trump himself has made almost $2 million off the agency, according to financial records released by his campaign. "This is a system where they actually end up making money on the back of these foreign workers", Blais said. According to financial documents and a letter from an immigration attorney cited in the report, the Canadian model did not secure a work visa until six months later, although she appeared as a model on episodes of Trump's reality show "The Apprentice" before securing the work permit.

In order to have lawfully worked in the United States, the women would have had to obtain H1-B visas, which Mr Trump has vowed to end should he become president. Documents included in a recent lawsuit filed by a fourth former Trump model reveal that she also worked for Trump's agency in the U.S. without a proper visa, the magazine reports. Judge Analisa Torres said in an order that Palmer hadn't exhausted all her options with the Department of Labor or state court before filing the suit, the Associated Press reported.

Industry experts told Mother Jones that such practices were commonplace at the time.

The report cited immigration experts who explained that foreign nationals who worked in the US, even if they were not being paid for their work, would still be doing so illegally.

"We're herded into these small spaces", one model, referred to as Kate, told Mother Jones of the living conditions at the Trump models' apartment.

Blais said because of Trump's modeling agency (in which the candidate holds an 85 percent stake), she learned firsthand the impact of working for a company on an H-1B visa.

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