Saipan casino has less than 300 construction workers

9:38 am on 5 March 2019

The company which owns the Northern Marianas' half-built Imperial Pacific Resort is struggling for a full workforce amid new restrictions on foreign workers.

The 200 room hotel and casino Imperial Pacific Resort under construction in Saipan, CNMI

Photo: RNZ/Mark Rabago

Imperial Pacific International says it has less than 300 construction workers assigned to the $US507 million, 200-plus-room resort development on Saipan.

"The Hong Kong-based company said the ban on Philippine workers from the H-2B temporary visa by the US Department of Homeland Security resulted in the loss of 500 construction workers from the Southeast Asian country."

Imperial Pacific said it now has only 264 individual workers, mostly skilled workers from Taiwan on H-2B visas.

There are also 12 workers from a US-based sub-contractor and another 11 from the Czech Republic who are technicians installing two crystal dragon chandeliers.

The company hopes the CNMI government's efforts to have the ban on Filipino workers overturned will bare fruit, so it can again recruit skilled workers from the country.

The Federal ban was driven by concerns about overstayers on the US mainland.

Imperial Pacific Resort is still confident it will finish the project before a December deadline.

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