The Department of Homeland Security has designated the Philippines as eligible to participate in the H-2B non-immigrant visa program.
The Office of the Governor made the announcement on Wednesday.
The Philippines was removed from the H-2B nonimmigrant program in January 2019 and there were zero approvals for civilian H-2B petitions in 2018 compared to 95% approval prior to 2015.
For 2021, the acting secretary of homeland security and the secretary of state agreed to add the Philippines to the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2B program; no longer designate the Independent State of Samoa and Tonga as eligible countries because they no longer meet the regulatory standards for the H-2A and H-2B visa programs; and no longer designate Mongolia as an eligible country for the H-2A visa program because it no longer meets the regulatory standards for that program.
DHS maintains its authority to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country at the time it publishes a new list, should DHS and DOS determine that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation. Examples of factors that could result in the exclusion of a country or the removal of a country from the list include fraud, abuse, denial rates, overstay rates, human trafficking concerns, and other forms of noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the H-2 visa programs by nationals of that country that are contrary to U.S. interest.
"With the help of our federal partners in the Department of Defense and the Department of Interior, as well as the advocacy of Delegate San Nicolas, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledges the necessity of the Philippine labor force for our growing economy," said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
“The distinction of ‘inside the fence’ and ‘outside the fence’ does not and cannot work for Guam. This Administration’s One Guam approach has always argued that our economic stability is a national security issue. As we begin to address the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lou and I are satisfied with this action and remain optimistic in our recovery,” said Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio.