April 5, 2018
Hagåtña — 171 more H-2B visa petitions for PHC Corporation have been approved – making this contractor the first to receive full approval on all H2B visa applications in years.
Last month, PHC Corp. submitted applications to USCIS for 333 positions for military related projects on Andersen Air Force Base. Governor Calvo sent a letter of support for PHC Corp’s petition to USCIS.
The first 162 positions, to include carpenters, construction equipment mechanics, electricians, plumbers and welders were approved last week. Followed by this week’s approval of 60 additional positions comprising of cement masons and equipment operators. The Guam Department of Labor received word late yesterday that the final 111 ironworker positions were also approved.
“This is great news but again, this is just the first contractor under the NDAA. I am anxiously awaiting the response to the applications for projects outside the fence,” Governor Calvo stated. “Approval of the other military-related contracts would mean the 2018 NDAA, which allows for 4,000 skilled laborers on Guam to assist with military-buildup projects, is helping. But we do have other petitions sent to USCIS that are for school and infrastructure projects and we hope those petitions pass muster.”
In the last few weeks, the Governor has signed support letters for contractors to bring more than 1,300 skilled laborers to Guam, this number includes the petitions sent in by PHC Corp. This still falls short of the approximately 1,500 foreign labor workers that were on Guam prior to 2015 when USCIS officials started denying petitions without warning and with no change in law.
“If these approvals continue, then we have a good indication that the legislative relief granted for H-2B applications through the 2018 NDAA is working and will start the engine moving for much needed construction work which helps drive our economy,” said Greg Massey, Administrator for the Guam Department of Labor’s Alien Labor Processing Certificate Division.
Additionally, federal government approval is needed for applications submitted by Ace Builders who requested more than 500 skilled laborers to assist with projects that are critical for our island:
• iLearn Charter School
• Summer Towers
• Summer Town, phase 3
• GWA waste water upgrade in Umatac/Merizo
“The results are encouraging — from the GCA class action lawsuit to the most recent approvals on the H-2B applications for military-related projects. Hopefully more contractors will reach out and work with the Department of Labor,” Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio stated. “We hope to receive the same positive response from USCIS for projects like affordable housing, education and infrastructure. This administration continues to reiterate the need for the OneGuam approach.”
April 5, 2018