9 Dec 2008

Marshall Islands officials press U.S. government to help ease way for skilled Filipinos

11:07 am on 9 December 2008

Marshall Islands officials are pressing the U.S. government to help ease the way for skilled Filipinos to work there because of the shortage of doctors, nurses and skilled construction workers.

Business and government officials say they are having an increasingly difficult time recruiting workers from the Philippines with the U.S. Embassy in Manila frequently refusing visas to allow Filipinos to travel to Guam, the only air route between the Philippines and the Marshalls.

The Health Secretary, Justina Langidrik, says Ebeye Island has been having problems getting doctors and nurses already approved for recruitment because of the transit visa problem.

Anil Construction CEO, Carlos Domnick, says even when Philippines accountants and construction supervisors he recruits have all of their documents in order, the U.S. Embassy often rebuffs them.

The Marshalls' Foreign Ministry has weighed in, asking the U.S. Embassy in

Majuro for help in navigating the transit visa process to enable skilled

workers to be imported from the Philippines.

The U.S. Embassy Majuro Charge d'Affaires, Doug Morris says, in response, that the Majuro embassy has no authority to involve itself in decisions of the Manila embassy.