12 Sep 2011

Foreign workers in CNMI now seeking new visas after rules revealed

7:40 pm on 12 September 2011

Many non-resident workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas are seeking assurances from employers, with last week's announcement of new visa rules.

Under the rules governing foreign workers in the CNMI is the Commonwealth-Only worker status, or CW visas, that allows them to remain in the territory until Dec 31, 2014.

But there are only just over 22 thousand permits available for the coming fiscal year, with other permits due to expire on November the 27th.

The employers of foreign workers can start petitioning for the CW visas, or some cases, one or two other visas such as H1, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, from early October.

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago, says it has put intense pressure on those who are currently out of work.

"If they dont fall under any category, then they'll have to leave, move forward, probably look for another job in their home country, or apply for jobs in other countries, where they are needed. For those who would stay here, its welcome relief, if their employees do apply for CW or H1. But the problem with CW, is that its only valid until 2014."

Mark Rabago