In 2014, the Open Philanthropy Project granted $1,490,505 to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for a 14-month pilot project aiming to give 100 Haitian workers access to H-2A visas for seasonal work in the U.S. Unfortunately, the pilot project fell well short of our hopes; although the project was able to secure many job requests, difficulties in the visa process meant that only 14 workers ended up coming to the U.S. in 2015 through the project (more in our December 2015 update). We still think that access to H-2A visas could produce substantial income benefits for Haitian workers, and that there is a possibility that a project to connect Haitian workers to U.S. employers could lead to many more Haitians having access to H-2A visas in coming years, but our estimate of the likely potential flows has been significantly reduced, and accordingly we decided not to renew support for the IOM project as previously constituted.
Protect the People (PTP), which supported IOM on the initial project, expressed interest in continuing to attempt to facilitate Haitian access to the H-2A program at a substantially lower level of budgetary support. After some further investigation and discussion, we decided to recommend a grant of $550,000 to support PTP’s plans, with additional support if more workers are able to participate in the project.
Although we decided to support PTP’s work in 2016, we see a number of significant risks that could result in far fewer people than PTP projects being able to participate. We plan to assess this grant largely based on the income earned by Haitian workers through the project.