The incoming administration of US President-elect Joe Biden will result to an American environment that’s “more welcoming” of Filipino migrant workers.
Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel expressed this hope on Sunday, Nov. 8, as he tried to draw a comparison between Biden and outgoing President Donald Trump.
“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.
“In contrast, we are hoping that the Biden administration will be more receptive to Filipino workers,” added the House of Representatives official.
“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,” the Mindanaon noted.
Under Trump, the US 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 US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Jan. 16 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 the year’s end. The ban has stopped the hiring of new workers from the Philippines, mostly for non-farm temporary jobs in construction, hotels, and esorts in America.
The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow US employers or US agents to bring foreign nationals to America to fill temporary agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, respectively.
Biden, who turns 78 on Nov. 20, has a reputation of being a seasoned diplomat. The former US vice president was once chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.