IPI expects close to 400 workers by May


Photo shows the Commonwealth Casino Commission at its meeting last March 15. Members of the Commonwealth Casino Commission met with Pacific Rim president Keith Stewart for the first time last week. (Erwin Encinares)

With over 1,500 approved H-visas, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC is expecting to have close to 90 workers with H-visas by April 2018 to continue working on their casino resort.

According to IPI executive Eric Poon in the Commonwealth Casino Commission meeting last March 15, IPI’s 1,542 approved H-2B visa holders are expected to start arriving this week.

There would be about 90 more workers by April 2018, he said, and close to 400 workers by May 2018.

“Right now, we have around 230 workers on site doing different types of [jobs] and also, we have 25 management staff,” he said.

Poon added that in cooperation with their new prime contractor, Pacific Rim Construction, they have been steadily increasing their worker numbers by the day.

“As of today, we have over 200 [additional] people from Pacific Rim,” said Poon.

Casino commissioner Alvaro Santos asked to confirm with Poon if the additional workers are already counted in the 1,542 H-2B visas. Poon replied that the workers currently working at the site consist of U.S.-eligible workers from the mainland, Guam, and Hawaii.

Poon noted that majority of the H-2B visa holders originated from Taiwan and the Philippines.

The estimated 90 H-2B permit holders expected by April are reported to be Taiwanese nationals, according to an IPI report handout submitted to the casino commission.

According to the same handout, the overall completion percentage is starting to see movement after dropping to sluggish rates, with a completion rate of 64.8 percent as compared to 64.5 percent as previously projected.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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