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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Health corporation says it complies with immigration law
Over 30 nurses are approved CW petitions; 1 advised to stop work due to pending documents

Non-immigrant employees of the Commonwealth Health Center need not worry about their employment status following disclosure yesterday that the latest batch of CW petitions were approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. interim CEO Esther Muña and hospital services administrator Jesse Tudela separately confirmed with Saipan Tribune that only one among the latest batch of CW applications was not approved pending further evidentiary document required by USCIS.

“All applications, except one, were approved. Staff were informed by our hospital administrator [Jesse Tudela] of the status of their documents,” said Muña.

Tudela said that over 30 petitions in the latest batch of CW applications were approved. The sole employee whose application remains pending has been instructed to stop working at the hospital until USCIS approves the petition, he said.

“We’re complying with the law. For the latest batch of CW petitions we received, only one was not OK and the said employee was properly advised. Like other entities out here, CHCC is treated the same,” Tudela said.

Saipan Tribune tried to find out how many of the corporation’s employees have CW status but the data was not provided. Based, however, on the January 2013 record of CHCC, which was then reported to the CHCC board by former CEO Juan N. Babauta, the corporation applied for 120 CW employees. These are mostly nurses at CHC and the Tinian and Rota clinics.

Some of the hospital’s non-immigrant personnel said yesterday there remain a high number of CW petitions that are pending to date. Many are worried that, like the one staffer, they may have to stop working if their CW renewal petitions remains pending when their current CW permits expire.

But according to Tudela, the corporation’s Human Resources office submits CW petitions in batches because not everybody has the same CW expiration date.

“For now, there’s no impact to our operation because services are delivered uninterrupted by our personnel,” he said, adding that the work stoppage of one CW employee is just temporary and not disruptive to the work at the hospital.

He is optimistic that the CW renewal of the one employee, along with others still in process, will soon be approved by USCIS.

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