More than 100 Filipino teachers participated in a virtual forum jointly sponsored by The Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Washington, D.C. (POLO-WDC), the Commission of Filipinos Overseas (CFO), and the United Federation of Fil-Am Educators (UNIFFIED) in view of the persistent reports of shortage of teachers in the different school districts in the US.
“The main objective of this webinar is to assist teachers in making an informed decision on which program or pathway would benefit not only the participant or the worker and his or her family but the country as well,” CFO Secretary Francisco Acosta said.
The Filipino teachers are deployed in the US either through the H1B working visa or the J-1 cultural exchange program.
POLO-WDC Labor Attaché Angela A. Librado-Trinidad discussed the accreditation and verification process for the deployment of workers under the H-1B visa program while Director Marie Apattad from the Commission of Filipinos Overseas provided information on the Exchange Visitorship Program, more popularly known as the J1 Visa program. Both representatives however stressed the difference between the two visa programs in terms of the expenses expected to be incurred as well as the benefits afforded to the teacher/participants.
Dubbed as “How to be You, po”, the webinar is the second part of the series launched by POLO-WDC which started in 2020 following some reports and complaints of teachers regarding charging of some agencies and personalities of onerous fees and against unethical and unfair recruitment practices.
As part of its information campaign, POLO WDC invited teachers Emely Rosales and Roger Calimag to share their experiences from being J-1 visa program participants to eventually becoming workers in the United States under the H-1B visa program. And while they had to go home to await the processing of their H-1B visas, which included the accreditation and verification from POLO, both teachers expressed their preference to the H-1B program as it provides them a pathway to regularization in the United States.
Deputy Chief of Mission Jaime Ascalon, Jr. reminded the attendees that “information is key especially on this major career move, and the Philippine Embassy is here to raise awareness on the profile of Filipino workers here in the US because our Filipino teachers, nurses, engineers are the best.”