The USCIS has The Philippines is no longer one of the countries that is eligible to supply workers under this program. announcing changes to countries who are eligible to supply workers pursuant to the H-2 visa program.
This is an annual notice publication that covers the period from January 19, 2019 – January 18, 2020.
It is important to note that this has no impact whatsoever on Registered Nurses, Physical Therapists, Medical Technologists and other allied healthcare workers. These healthcare workers are normally filed under the H-1B visa (temporary non-seasonal workers) or Green Cards (Permanent residents). H-2 visas are normally associated with agricultural workers, trades workers in fields like construction, and other seasonal workers such as those in resorts or the fishing industry.
The rationale for eliminating the Philippines from the H-2 program is explained in the report. This decision will be revisited in January 2020.
The Philippines has a high H-2B overstay rate. In FY 2017, DHS estimated that nearly 40 percent of H-2B visa holders from the Philippines overstayed their period of authorized stay. Additionally, among all U.S. posts throughout the world, U.S. Embassy Manila issues the greatest number of T-derivative visas (T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5, T-6), which are reserved for certain family members of principal T-1 nonimmigrants (certain victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons). U.S. 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. DHS and DOS 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. DHS and DOS also believe that these overstay and human trafficking concerns are severe enough to warrant removal from the H-2A visa program as well. This concern is informed by a four-fold increase in H-2A visa applications from nationals of the Philippines between FY 2015-2018. The Philippines' continued inclusion creates the potential for abuse, fraud, and other harm to the integrity of the H-2A or H-2B visa programs.