Monday, March 31, 2008

Separate H2 Visas for Guam

Separate H2 visas for Guam military build-up will be issued
Monday March 31, 2008
By Gemma Q. Casas
Variety News Staff

A RANKING U.S. Naval official says separate H2 visas will be issued for Guam to ensure that its military build-up project that involves relocating 8,000 Marines from Japan will push through as scheduled despite the projected labor shortage in the territory.

Capt. Robert Lee, director of the Joint Guam Program Office, told Variety in a telephone conference with Capt. Neil A. Ruggiero, JGPO Forward public affairs officer, and an environmental officer, that 10,000 to 12,000 H2 visas will be issued to Guam.

Lee said this will not be counted against the national quota of 64,000 H2 visas.

He said this means the U.S. military will be able to get the needed labor force for constructing new housing facilities and other infrastructure in Guam even if the plan to federalize CNMI’s immigration system hits a snag or is not acted at all.

“There’s no relation or tie-in to that,” he said.

H.R. 3079, or the Northern Marianas Immigration Security and Labor Act, has been bundled with other bills under title 7 of the omnibus package bill S. 2739 which is now in the U.S. Senate.

This bill contains a provision establishing a nonimmigrant alien program which is entirely separate from the transitional workers program.

The U.S. military needs up to 15,000 skilled workers for the massive build-up project in Guam where 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa, Japan, and their 9,000 dependents will be relocated.

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