WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo wrote to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to express her concerns with reported increased rates of denials that local businesses are encountering when renewing H-visa applications. Congresswoman Bordallo noted that these workers are critical to supporting our health care and construction industries, which require specialized employees that our local workforce is not able to fully provide. She requested that USCIS provide clarification on its denial process as well as fidelity on the rationale behind the increase in H-1 and H-2 visa renewal denials.
“I am concerned that local businesses are seeing an increase in denials for H-visa renewal applications without any clear indication about what has changed since last year. I strongly support local workers having preferences for these jobs, but our current workforce is not able to meet the demand for certain services. The anticipated military construction workload will take our island past its historical levels of organic support and will require H-2B workers. Further, there is a shortage of nurses on Guam that require providers to rely on the H-2B visa program. For these reasons, in 2008 Congress separated Guam and the CNMI’s H-2B visa quote from the national quota, which was extended at the end of 2014. Ultimately, these denials could adversely impact our economy, the delivery of health care, and anticipated construction related to the realignment of Marines from Okinawa to Guam. I will work with USCIS to address this problem to ensure that our businesses have an adequate workforce,” she said.