Guam to hire 25,000 foreign workers

Published by rudy Date posted on July 1, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Guam is opening its door to at least 25,000 foreign workers including Filipinos over the next five years, a ranking official said yesterday.

In a press conference, Guam Governor Felix P. Camacho said a total of $15 billion worth of new investments will be coming into their country. As a result, he announced that there will be a need to hire foreign workers given that there are only 5,000 workers in Guam.

“There is a severe shortage of workers,” Camacho said.

Peter S. Gro Jr., chairman of the International Group Inc. said that over the next five years, the US state will be hiring 25,000 workers in their construction and health care industry.

Camacho noted that the new investments in Guam are largely from the transfer of the Unites States bases in Okinawa. From Japan, the military base will now be located in Guam. There are currently 8,000 marines in Okinawa with 9,000 dependents.

The investment committed by the government of Japan is $6 billion while the US government said they will infuse $4 billion. The remaining $5 billion is from the development of the Navy and the Air Force.

In order to address their severe shortage in labor force once the investments come in, Camacho said they will immediately need 8,000 to 10,000 overseas workers. Of these, he said 80 percent will be in the construction industry.

Camacho said the large scale recruitment will commence late this year and early next year because most of the vertical constructions will begin late 2010.

However, Dave Tydingco, senior vice president of Younex International Corporation said that they have started augmenting their Filipino labor force in their company in preparation for the coming of the military bases.

“Some of the construction will start before the base comes in,” he said.

 To better address the need of Guam, the US has suspended its quota for overseas professional workers in Guam. The lifting of the quota will begin in November and will end either 2014 or 2015.

For healthcare workers, Camacho said they will be needing more nurses and therapists because they expect their population to grow by 25 percent in the next four to six years. “There is a need for that (healthcare professionals),” Camacho stressed.

The Philippines is the first country to be visited by the Guam Trade Mission. When asked how many Filipino workers the state will hire, Camacho said they have no specific quota but said that the Philippines is listed high in the list of good sources of labor. Guam is not allowed to hire Chinese nationals for national security reasons.

Camacho said that Filipino workers have an edge against other nationals because they are English speakers and are known to be diligent laborers.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Authority (OWWA) is expected to put up a liaison office in the Philippine consulate in Guam in anticipation of the upsurge of Filipino workers in the area.–Ma. Elisa P. Osorio, Philippine Star

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