Where US jobs are and how to get them in 2018

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CRISPIN R. ARANDA

US President Donald Trump may have the lowest approval ratings of presidents during their first-year term, but the stock market and businesses are ignoring the political chatter surrounding the President’s competence and fitness for office.

A government report on December 5 shows the US economy had added 148,000 jobs that month and the unemployment rate stayed at 4.1 percent in November. While slow wages climbed upwards and overall, the Trump administration can claim to have brought healthy growth and 2.1 million new jobs, a hundred thousand less than the 2.2 million jobs created under the Obama administration’s last year in office.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected an increase of 11 .5 million jobs over the 2016-2026 decade.

Passage of the tax law, cutting of taxes for corporations and the expected investment by businesses fueled the same optimism on new jobs for Registered Nurses by 14 states, projecting an annual growth rate of 20 percent or more from 2012 to 2022. Eight of the 14 are in the west: Texas, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Arkansas, Montana and Washington state.


For Filipinos and workers from other countries, gettingthe jobs they are qualified for from the 11.5 million available is not a walk in the park.

The employer with vacancies must justify the need to recruit from overseas before the specific temporary work visa is filed. There are conditions attached to the recruitment and certification that no US citizens or residents are willing, able and available for the job must be obtained from the US Department of Labor before a temporary or permanent work visa is filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The Trump administration’s mantra must be followed: “Buy American, Hire American. America First.”

Jobs available for foreign workers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics published a list of 20 occupations with the highest jobs growth. The following charts show the jobs that require the filing of temporary work visa petitions under the H-2B and H-1B categories, the two most popular types of temporary employment.

For employers in the agricultural sector, the H-2A visa may be filed. The duration is only up to a year, but renewable for a maximum of three years. After that, the H-2A visa holder must leave the US and remain outside the US for an uninterrupted period of three months before being eligible for readmission in the same category,

Occupations under H-2B program
Six of the 20 top occupations with the highest job growth are in the healthcare fields, with personal care aides needing an additional 754.000 openings eight years from now.

H-2B visas are for workers intending to fill non-agricultural jobs. There is an annual cap of 66,000 with 33,000 visas allocated for the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 to March 31). The second batch of 33,000 H-2A workers start from April 1 to September 30.

The Philippines is among the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2B program.

A temporary labor certification must be obtained prior to filing with the USCIS. The foreign worker applies for the H-2B visa at the corresponding consular post or embassy.

The following jobs with the highest growth rates are classifiable as H-2Bs. The increase in employment numbers for the next decade (in thousands) is shown together with the median annual wage for each occupation.

Getting paid more overseas for the same job at home is the essential push factor to work abroad. The current daily minimum wage rate in the National Capital Region for example as ofOctober 5, 2017 is P512, or P125,040 a year, compared to the annual salary of P1 million as a personal care aide, or caregiver.

A restaurant cook has the earning potential of more than P1.2 million, while landscape or groundskeeping workers could get over P1.3 million.

POEA rules prohibit employers and/or their licensed agents to collect fees from the worker and a master employment contract must be approved detailing the wage and work conditions.

Jobsunder H-1B specialty occupations
The following occupations require sponsors that must provide evidence that the job being offered must meet any one of the following criteria: 1) bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is the minimum requirement; 2) the degree requirement is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree; 3) the employer normally requires a degree or equivalent for the position; 4) the nature of the specific duties is so specialized that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or a higher degree.

Cap, filing, selection and duration
The H-1B visa is capped at 65,000 visas yearly; an additional 20,000 is reserved for applicants with US master’s degree or higher. Applicants for jobs with non-profit entities or research organizations, government research organization are also exempt from the annual cap. H-1B visas may be filed for an initial period of three years and may not go beyond six years.

H-1B petitions are filed and accepted only on the first business day of April of each year and the employment date cannot be earlier than October 1 of that year. Applications are randomly selected by computers hence the term “visa lottery.” The cap is usually filled in a few days after filing period opens.

Those applying from the Philippines must go through the POEA recruitment procedures after the employer has been accredited by the labor attaché with jurisdiction over the country where the visa applicant is residing or working. OFWs may apply for the H-B, H-2B or H-2A visas with the US Embassy in the country where they are currently residing or working.

While OFWs applying outside the Philippines are not subject to POEA recruitment regulations, accreditation from the labor ttaché should at least be required to avoid becoming victims of illegal recruitment.

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