United Workers Movement-NMI president Rabby Syed and other sources said yesterday that the Bangladeshi security guard/maintenance employee already got a Commonwealth-only worker visa from the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh after some two months of waiting, and is expected to return to Saipan today.
“The updated information we got is that he just recently got his CW visa, after waiting for some two months since his interview at the Embassy so now he's coming back to Saipan,” Syed told Saipan Tribune yesterday.
The CW permit holder works at Saipan Health Clinic as a security guard/maintenance employee, and is not with a security agency as earlier reported, sources said.
Syed said the fact remains-“He waited for a long time to get a CW visa, about two months. I think USCIS [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] and the State Department should work together to come up with a smoother processing of CW visa applications.”
He said CW permit holders are concerned that they too might have to wait for weeks or months to get an approved CW visa at the U.S. Embassy in their country of origin, or worse, get denied.
Marie Thérèse Sebrechts, USCIS regional media manager, said, “USCIS works regularly with other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of State. The Department of State is aware of and issues CW visas.”
Kelly McCarthy, press and information officer at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, said yesterday: “Like USCIS, the U.S. Department of State is bound by the same public law that protects privacy [and] is not able to comment on individual cases.”
Syed said the Bangladeshi CW permit holder “waited for almost two months despite going through the application process” and the same thing could happen to other CW permit holders if the federal government's CW visa application process is not improved “soon.”
Another source said a second CW permit holder had his interview for a CW visa at the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh last week, but there is no telling whether the second CW permit holder would also wait for two months to get a CW visa.
Syed said he hopes the second applicant at the Embassy in Bangladesh would not have to wait for some two months to get a CW visa.
Another CW permit holder, a Filipino, was denied a CW visa at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines apparently because the worker was earning only the CNMI's current minimum wage of $5.05 an hour and not $7.25 an hour. A consul at the embassy thought the CNMI minimum wage is now $7.25 an hour. But the embassy has since confirmed that the CNMI's minimum wage is currently $5.05 an hour and the worker is about to get an approval of his CW visa application days after it was denied.