The US has banned citizens of the Philippines who want to enter the US via the H-2A and H-2B visa schemes following the increase in cases of Filipinos who overstayed their visas as well as cases of human trafficking.
The GMA released a report which revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would not be issuing any temporary visas to foreigners in the agricultural and non-agricultural sector for a 1-year duration starting from January 19, 2019, to January 18, 2020.
The H2-A visa grants its holders a temporary stay in America, and it is for agricultural workers while the H2-B visa is for foreigners who will not be working in the agricultural sector in the country. The Federal Register has a notice from the DHS which reveals that up to 50% of Filipinos who were in the US on the H2-B visa scheme overstayed their visas.
Furthermore, the DHS notice read that the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines issued the highest number of T-derivative visas which are specifically for some family members of T-1 visa holders as well as some persons who were victims of human trafficking.
According to the report, the increasing level of former holders of the H-2B visa from the Philippines who became victims of human trafficking drew the attention and concern of the DHS.
Of particular interest is the increase in the number of Filipinos who applied for the H-2A visa between 2015 and 2018. The DHS considered the granting of these visas as a way of giving them opportunities to keep growing their human trafficking market in the US.
Ethiopians and Dominicans affected by the ban
Persons from Ethiopia and the Dominican Republic are also included in this visa ban. However, those who are already in the US under the H-2 visa scheme will not be affected except in cases where they seek an H-2 visa extension or a status change from one H-2 visa type to the other.
Finally, applicants of any of the H-2 visas from these countries can still get their visas if they make petitions regarding their applications. They simply need to be vetted individually by authorities.
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