Feds give one military contractor all the foreign workers requested
333 H-2B petitions approved by UCIS for PHC Corp.
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 Wednesday that the final 111 ironworker positions were also approved. “This is great news but again, this is just the first contractor under the National Defense Authorization Act. I am anxiously awaiting the response to the applications for projects outside the fence,” Governor Calvo said. “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, Calvo has signed support letters for contractors to bring more than 1,300 skilled laborers to Guam, including 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 island projects: • iLearn Charter School • Summer Towers • Summer Town, phase 3 • GWA waste water upgrade in Umatac/Merizo
Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo was also pleased by the USCIS decision:
“Our local companies continue to benefit from Congressional relief I pursued in last year’s defense bill. I am hopeful that we will continue to see these approvals and build our workforce to meet our labor demands. This has been a whole of community effort, and I appreciate the strong, “One Guam” partnerships we have built with our local stakeholders. I look forward to building on this progress as we pursue additional legislative relief for our entire community.”