Governor Lou Leon Guerrero on Tuesday testified before a congressional panel, where she made a case for why Guam should be given relief from the foreign work visa restrictions.
“Guam’s military and civilian growth has been supported by foreign skilled labor. Given Guam’s close proximity to the Philippines, local employers have come to rely on the Philippines as the primary source of supplementary skilled labor when utilizing the H-2B program,” Leon Guerrero said before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service began a clampdown on the issuance of H2-B visa in December 2015, triggering a labor crisis that prompted several developers to put the brakes on their projects.
The USCIS’ decision to lift Guam’s exemption from the national visa cap was compounded by the U.S. Homeland Security’s decision to remove the Philippines from the list of countries eligible for H-2B visa program.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s recent administrative action that removed the Philippines from a list of countries eligible for the H-2B program effective January 19, 2019 affects us greatly,” Leon Guerrero said.
“While the new policy provides the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with discretion on a case-by-case basis to approve H-2B petitions that serve the national interest, including petitions that qualify under section 1045 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019, it is clear that the ban on foreign skilled labor from the Philippines will have a detrimental impact in Guam.”
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