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Nevada senator renews call for longer stay of Filipino teachers in U.S.

Bev Llorente | TFC News Las Vegas

Posted at Jun 06 2023 10:00 PM

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Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has renewed her call for a longer stay of J1 teachers in the U.S.

The Democratic lawmaker said the role of Filipino J1 teachers in Nevada is a crucial to helping address the shortage of teachers in Clark County.

Nevada Senator helps Filipino teachers extend stay in US

The said area is America's fifth largest school district, employing roughly 18,000 educators.

"We gotta make sure that we get teachers in our community that are really good and they're working with our children," said Cortez Masto. "We gotta keep them here. We want to figure out either how we can provide waivers, extension or change the law.”

According to the U.S. State Department, more than 2,800 J1 visa holders were employed in U.S. schools in 2017, lasting up to three years.

Among the hundreds of J1 special education teachers who flew in from the Philippines is Rheymart Gandia.

He came to America in 2018 to help address a teacher shortage in the Clark County School District. But five years later, his bags are packed and he is ready to return home.

"I never imagined that I would be able to go to the U.S.," said Gandia in Filipino. "I was only invited by my friends and then everything else followed."

J1 teachers' contracts state that once the visa expires, the foreign teacher must return to his or her home country. They cannot return to the U.S. for two years.

"The term is [a] bitter and sweet feeling," Gandia added. "I survived the last five years. I'm grateful that I got through all the challenges and struggles in teaching here in the U.S."

For now, Gandia said he plans to resume teaching in the Philippines until he is able to go back to the U.S.