Friday, 25 May, 2018

Haitians Are No Longer Eligible for Temporary Work Visas in the US

People protest against U.S. President Donald Trump People protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's recent comments and tough stand on immigration in Florida
Ellis Copeland | 19 January, 2018, 02:19

The Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that Belize, Haiti and Samoa will no longer be eligible for temporary work visas.

Last November the Trump Administration originally announced that they would be ending "temporary protected status" for Haitians who were allowed entry to the United States after the devastation caused to the country in the 2010 natural disaster that killed more than 200,000 people.

Though no H-2A or H-2B visas were issued to Samoans in fiscal year 2016, D.H.S. said they had blocked the country for not taking back nationals ordered removed from the United States.

The department cited a "high rate of overstaying" and other factors for its decision on Haiti.

Donald Trump's administration is moving forward after his "shithole countries" comments to add policy to the insult and bar Haitians from getting certain types of visas.

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Sarah Williamson, whose consultancy firm ran a pilot program to bring Haitians to the United States on seasonal work visas, told Reuters that although only a few dozen Haitians have used the visas each year since Haiti was added to the list, with this move, the Trump administration is "cutting off the most economically beneficial visa for the Haitian people". Haiti had been included in that list since 2012, after a successful lobbying campaign by humanitarian groups and both Republican and Democratic lawmakers to make Haiti eligible for short-term worker visas that could help Haitians recover from the catastrophic 2010 quake. "There's a tremendous warmth", he said. "And they're very hard-working people". It went on to claim Haitians have a history of "overstaying the terms of their H-2 admission", as well.

"Haiti has shown no improvement in these areas, and the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, that Haiti's inclusion on the 2018 H-2A and H-2B lists is no longer in the USA interest", DHS said.

The most recent register, released by D.H.S. on Wednesday, excluded the three countries.

Before Hegeman hired Haitians, his business had trouble finding local workers. When he was approached by PTP to participate in the program, he agreed. "They worked hard, you see a smile on their face every day", said Hegeman, who as the child of a missionary was born and largely raised in the Dominican Republic, which neighbors Haiti.

"That was one of my biggest concerns", he said. Other temporary work visas require higher levels of skill and education.

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