The Philippine honorary consul to the CNMI feels that the 240-day extension granted to CNMI-Only Transitional Worker visa holders will hardly benefit contract workers here.
In an interview with Saipan Tribune, Philippine honorary consul Glicerio Arago explained that most CW-1 workers may not be able to avail of the 240-day extension.
According a Saipan Tribune article, the 240-day extension is subject to conditions and approval by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The article states, “the 240-day relief given to a CW-1 visa holder is only eligible if the employer renews the CW-1 visa and is asking to continue a previously approved employment; the employer files the petition before the CW-1 visa expires; and if the employer asks to extend the employee’s stay in the petition.”
According to article, the extension is only available to CW-1 workers who will undergo a renewal process for their visa by the same employer.
Because of this condition, CW-1 workers who are petitioned as new employees won’t be eligible for this extension, which is almost always the case for most CW-1 employees.
According to Arago, most employers petition their CW-1 workers as new employees.
“Most are afraid that if they apply for an extension, their application will be rejected,” he said.
Arago speaks from experience. According to him, he has witnessed many renewing applicants get rejected and were required to wait to be petitioned as a new applicant.
“…It’s true, we applied extensions separately and all of them were rejected,” said Arago.
According to him, because it is riskier to apply for an extension or renewal, most employers petition their employees as new workers.
This makes the 240-day extension non-applicable for majority of CW-1 visa holders who are facing the expiration of their visa.
According to Arago, this extension is also non-beneficial to new visa applicants because you would still need to exit upon approval of their visa.
Upon approval, visa holders are required to return to the country they came from.
According to Arago, if the petition for a new visa is approved, the applicant must undergo a consular briefing and undergo the whole process that every new employee must undergo, like an interview with the U.S. Embassy and acquiring an I-94 or proof that you are authorized to work in the United States.