Hagåtña, Guam – The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration announces that Guam has welcomed a milestone 3,000 H-2B workers to our island.  This historic influx of foreign workers is the largest since 1995 and is expected to rise further as Guam enters the peak of the military buildup. 

“Despite the pandemic’s challenges, our administration has worked to ensure that foreign labor certifications and U.S. labor services continue unabated, to ensure our island’s recovery and continued economic growth,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “While reaching this milestone is significant, it reinforces that career opportunities are available in the construction industry. Lt. Governor Tenorio and I remain focused on providing job training and apprenticeship opportunities to the people of Guam and reducing our reliance on foreign workers in the future.”

“The Governor and I fully support helping our local contractors meet their manpower needs not only to compete for lucrative federal projects but also to service the needs of our community, particularly in the areas of affordable housing and home construction,” said Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio. “We are encouraged by this record number of H-2B workers as we continue investing in developing Guam’s skilled workforce.” 

With the arrival of H-2B workers on August 22, 2022, Guam’s H-2B workforce has exceeded 3,000 workers. The Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) expects to see up to 4,600 H-2B workers on island by the end of Fiscal Year 2023 and possibly over 5,000 workers in Fiscal Year 2024.

This achievement highlights our construction industry’s recovery from the 2016 H-2B crisis when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determined the labor requirements of Guam’s construction employers were not temporary in nature and therefore did not meet H-2B program criteria. This determination resulted in unprecedented denials and ultimately eliminated all H-2B workers in Guam by May 2018. More recently, the Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) identified problems with employers accessing the adversely affected criteria due to unclear guidance from USCIS. The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration successfully worked with USCIS officials to revise their policy guidance, thus facilitating the availability of supplemental manpower for smaller contractors in the civilian sector who typically engage in home building and smaller infrastructure projects.

“The presence of more skilled workers on Guam paves the way for more affordable housing projects like the one recently announced by a contractor to build over 60 affordable homes in the next year, with plans for up to 350 more in the next 10 years,” said GDOL Director David Dell’Isola. “We remain dedicated to facilitating the construction of homes and housing projects and increasing our housing inventory to help drive down construction and home costs.”


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