17 Aug 2013

Uncertainty over foreign worker extension hurting CNMI economy

4:47 am on 17 August 2013

The president of the United Workers Movement says uncertainty over whether foreign workers in the Northern Marianas will be granted an extension to stay in the territory from 2015 is hurting the economy.

Earlier in the year the CNMI government indicated it would ask the US Department of Labour to extend the immigration transition period by five years.

When the period expires more than 15,000 foreign workers will have to leave the territory or 23,000 once their dependents are included.

With a total population in the CNMI of about 54,000 the president of the United Workers Movement, Rabby Syed, says it's a major issue but there's widespread confusion.

"Even business people - they don't know, the alien workers - they don't know, even foreign investors - they don't know where the situation is going on. The administration they need to come up with a very clear position."

Rabby Syed says Governor Eloy Inos, the legislature and Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan need to establish a unified voice on the issue.