By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – The Philippines continues to be excluded from the US H-2A and H-2B Visa program for 2020, the Federal Register for January 17, 2020 reported.
Ledy Almadin, board member of the non-profit PAFCOM, remarked that the US needed to deal with problem of overstaying visas and human trafficking with more specific action.
“Since it’s the US who is granting the Visa and not the Philippine government, I think it’s with the US government to correct and or improve the process so that people don’t overstay their visas. There are those who abide by the rules and they should not be punished for it. The US economy benefits from these workers. From the Philippine government perspective, it should work harder for workers to stay in the Philippines for the benefit of the Philippine economy.”
The Philippines was removed from the H-2A and H-2B visa program (agricultural and non-agricultural sectors) since 2019 due to the high rate of overstay of H-2B visas and the high percentage of recipients of T visas (60 percent of the total visas released by the US for victims of human trafficking) which held H-2B visas.
Lawyer Lara Gregory, an Manhattan-based immigration and litigation lawyer said with the continued exclusion of the Philippines this year, “it is logical to conclude that after a year, the United States is unconvinced that those factors no longer persist.”
As of this writing, OSM! still awaits the reaction of the Philippine Consulate in New York.