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Experience bringing Filipino helper to US on vacation?

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hpunk
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Experience bringing Filipino helper to US on vacation?

Postby hpunk » Thu, 10 Apr 2014 9:08 pm

Hello,
My wife and I are Americans living here in Singapore, with a Filipino FDW we hired in part to assist us as first-time parents with our infant daughter. Later this year we will be flying back to the US for three weeks for vacation, and we'd like to bring our helper with us. Does anyone have any recent experience trying to do so?
We are assuming we will need to apply for a B-1 visa, but the B-1 visa application process appears to be confusing and daunting, both in terms of requirements, and probability of success. [Has anyone had success bringing a helper in "quietly" on just a tourist visa?] We would really appreciate any advice on things like:
1) maximizing chance of having visa approved
2) understanding the wage requirements -- the salary we provide here is, as typical, far below what the hourly rate would equate to in US minimum wage. Three weeks working for us in the US at minimum wage could equate to 2-3x her salary here in Singapore, would we be expected to actually pay that, and how is that monitored/tracked by US government?
3) I've read conflicting and unclear things about implications for paying US wage tax on our helper's salary for the period we are in the US. Doesn't seem to be any mention of it on the US Embassy web page, but I've seen mention of it in forums online. Could anyone clarify what is required?
4) Timelines to expect to go through the process? I presume we can't buy her plane tickets until an application is approved....

Any help greatly appreciated
Many thanks!
rick

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Postby PNGMK » Thu, 10 Apr 2014 11:12 pm

I believe there is a specific domestic worker visa for the US for this case. I think you should use that.

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Strong Eagle
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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 10 Apr 2014 11:32 pm

Good luck, because it probably aint gonna happen. They have pulled the language from the US Embassy, Singapore, web pages but it said, at one time, if effect: "Don't bother trying to apply for a non-immigrant visa for your maid. You can't keep her passport legally, and therefore, neither can you guarantee that she won't run off and overstay in the USA."

Now maybe that's changed with the new Ambassador but I wouldn't get your hopes up.

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Postby gailwynand » Fri, 11 Apr 2014 12:52 am

I know people who have done this but they have not had a 100% success rate. The chances of approval are highly dependent on the person conducting the visa interview.

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Re: Experience bringing Filipino helper to US on vacation?

Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 11 Apr 2014 5:07 am

hpunk wrote:1) maximizing chance of having visa approved


Being Americans help; you're allowed into the embassy with the helper. If you're lucky, the consular officer at the window will even allow you attend the 'interview' to help your maid answer questions.

hpunk wrote:2) understanding the wage requirements -- the salary we provide here is, as typical, far below what the hourly rate would equate to in US minimum wage. Three weeks working for us in the US at minimum wage could equate to 2-3x her salary here in Singapore, would we be expected to actually pay that, and how is that monitored/tracked by US government?


So here is my suggestion for this and the rest of what the govenment asks for:
Help your maid fill out the B1/B2 app. Don't lie. Anything that requires documentation, put in a nice bound plastic folder. Say birth certificate, divorce certs, anything that may be relevant that you would reference in the app. Write a letter explaining the situation. You need to tell them you're planning to take care of the maid, she'd stay with you, and that you'll cover all of her expenses. Now you must demonstrate both 1) your ties to Singapore and 2) your income (warning: if you falsify your tax returns or FACTAs, just stop now). Get proof of your income and such, and put it along into that folder. Make a nice index along with your letter and explain what is on each page. The consular officers *love* when people are organized and have everything they can possibly need. Keeping them happy is your only (long) shot at getting this visa. Anyway, to answer the question your maid won't make enough money and you'll have to hope they'll accept your promise to cover her expenses and accept responsibility for her.

hpunk wrote:3) I've read conflicting and unclear things about implications for paying US wage tax on our helper's salary for the period we are in the US. Could anyone clarify what is required?


Not sure. You should bring her in as a tourist for holiday, and not as an employee of yours.

hpunk wrote:4) Timelines to expect to go through the process? I presume we can't buy her plane tickets until an application is approved....

You'll know immediately upon visiting the embassy if she's approved. You basically:
1) Fill out DS-160 online
2) Go pay the fee at StanChart and
3) Go back online and schedule an appointment. Usually you can get a slot in less than a week or two.
4) Go to the embassy at your appointed time. Expect to spend at least three hours there.

That said, I wouldn't give yourself much hope. What Strong Eagle said is likely true. It's all going to be at the whim of the consular officer.

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Postby brian_singapore » Sat, 19 Apr 2014 10:03 am

Slightly different scenario, but maybe indicative of the point of view of consular officials.

We hired our helper from an australian expat couple who were relocated to the US for work. She had been with them for 18 years and had repeatedly followed them to a number of different countries as the husband was moved around.

She was unable to go to the us with them when the embassy decided she was unable to prove stong ties to the philipines and they considered her at risk of staying in the us illigally. The family appealed pointing out her history with them and her relocation and departure from multiple countries (including developed countries such as Oz). The embassy came back with the same answer.

I don't know if you've onsidered the consequences of her application being rejected. If this happens, she may be refused for all aplications to the us in the future on the basis she's been rejected once regardless of the reason.

Brian


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