U.S. Issues Ban On Temporary Work Visas For Filipinos
In an announcement published last week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) imposed the ban starting 19 January 2019.
The U.S. agency stated that Philippines will no longer be eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs for the duration of the temporary ban which is in effect from 19 January, 2019 to 18 January, 2020.
The ban covers H-2A visas for agricultural workers and H-2B visas for non-agricultural workers and stems from the nearly 40 percent overstay rate of H-2B visa holders, PhilStar reports.
“DHS and [Department of State] are concerned about the high volume of trafficking victims from the Philippines who were originally issued H-2B visas and the potential that continued H-2B visa issuance may encourage or serve as an avenue for future human trafficking from the Philippines,” the DHS said.
“US Embassy Manila issued approximately 40 percent of the total T-derivative visas issued worldwide from FY 2014-2016.
“A recent review of certain T-1 status recipients, whose spouses were issued T-2 visas during this same period, shows that approximately 60 percent were determined to have been trafficked to the United States on H-2B visas,” it added.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo was quoted by a Bloomberg report, indicating that Philippines may appeal the ban.
“We need to know the basis of this decision,
And if we see that there’s none, we will ask for a reconsideration,” Panela said.