As this developed, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. pointed to a Philippine labor attaché and blamed her for the US decision to stop issuing temporary work visas to Filipinos.
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Only few workers affected by US ban – POEA
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Few Filipino workers are likely to be affected by the United States’ ban on hiring of temporary non-agricultural and seasonal agricultural workers, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said yesterday.

As this developed, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. pointed to a Philippine labor attaché and blamed her for the US decision to stop issuing temporary work visas to Filipinos.

POEA chief Bernard Olalia said the agency is set to issue an advisory for Filipinos applying as temporary and seasonal workers in the US that they cannot be deployed for now because of the ban.

“We will work with other agencies like the DFA …“We will try to assist these OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) for them to be deployed to other markets abroad,” Olalia said.

The US Department of Homeland Security earlier announced a ban on the entry of additional Filipino workers with H2-A and H2-B visas from Jan. 19 of this year to Jan. 18, 2020 due to “severe” overstaying and human trafficking concerns.

Backlash?

On Twitter yesterday, Locsin did not identify the labor attaché who claimed that employers took advantage of some holders of temporary work and students visas that prompted US authorities to investigate.

“Thank you to the labor attaché who denounced work/study J1 visas as slavery. She started the balls rolling. Salamat on behalf of Filipinos who won’t be allowed into the US anymore. Good work. S**t,” Locsin said.

“One of our labor attaches questioned such visas so I guess we got what we asked for,” he added.

The DFA said the Philippines is ready to work with the US in addressing these issues.

The recruitment industry reported that over a thousand Filipinos had been deployed to work in the US in 2017 and thus the ban would not have much impact.

Recruitment consultant Manny Geslani said Filipinos seeking employment in Guam need not worry since construction work is exempted from the US deployment ban.

Other types of visas remain available to Filipinos, including H-1B for those engaged in specialty occupation, which includes “fashion models of distinguished merit and ability and government-to-government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense.” – With Pia Lee-Brago

TEODORO LOCSIN JR. US FILIPINO WORKERS
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