First NDAA exempted H-2B workers approved

Guam's construction industry will get almost half a bilion dollars worth of projects thanks to the passage of the NDAA. (PNC file photo)

Guam – The first H-2B workers allowed under the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act have been approved.

However, Governor Eddie Calvo and Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio remain “cautiously optimistic about remaining petitions.” According to a release from the Governor’s office the Guam Department of Labor confirmed the approvals of the first H-2B applicants allowed under the 2018 NDAA exemption. 162 H2-B workers were approved for the PHC Corporation. These include carpenters, construction equipment mechanics, electricians, plumbers and welders. The PHC corporation is awaiting the approval of 171 more H2-B workers to fill positions for cement masons, heavy equipment operators, and iron workers.

Guam DOL officials expect an update on these H-2B applicants by the first week of April. Guam DOL Alien Labor Processing and Certificate Division Administrator Greg Massey says this is the first approval of H-2B workers since November of 2016. In prior years Guam averaged about 1,500 H-2B workers a year.

The governor says this is good news but “The second big test would be the federal agency’s response to petitions for skilled workers for outside-the-fence projects.” The governor signed a petition this week for ace builders who are seeking approval to bring in 555 H-2B workers. Ace builders is one of the contractors who joined a recent lawsuit filed by the Guam Contractors Association against the federal government’s disapproval of H-2B petitions.