AN America that is “hopefully more welcoming” to foreigners, including migrant Filipino workers.
This is what Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel sees under the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joseph Biden.
“There’s no question the anti-immigration policies of the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump made it more difficult for many foreigners, including Filipinos, to participate in America’s labor markets through all sorts of visa restrictions,” Pimentel said on Sunday. “In contrast, we are hoping that the Biden administration will be more receptive to Filipino workers.”
“We are hoping that under Biden, the Philippines will soon be returned to the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas,” Pimentel said.
Under Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security imposed a one-year ban on the issuance of new H-2A and H-2B visas to Filipinos from Jan. 19, 2019 to Jan. 18, 2020, citing overstaying and human trafficking concerns.
Shortly before the ban expired, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Jan. 16, 2020 a new list of countries whose nationals are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas in 2020.
The list excludes the Philippines, thus effectively prolonging the ban against temporary Filipino workers until yearend. (https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-announces-countries-eligible-for-h-2a-and-h-2b-visa-programs)
The ban has stopped the hiring of new workers from the Philippines, mostly for non-farm temporary jobs in construction, hotels and resorts in America, Pimentel said.
The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers or U.S. agents to bring foreign nationals to America to fill temporary agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, respectively.