IPI: Hundreds of H2B visa applications remain pending

Delayed visas could mean delayed project

Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s ongoing construction at Imperial Pacific Resort’s hotel tower and other venues face delays as IPI’s petition for hundreds of H2B visa applications in 2019 has not been approved yet, according to Eric Poon, IPI assistant vice president of construction, yesterday.

In its update on its construction progress, as presented during the Commonwealth Casino Commission’s regular monthly meeting yesterday, Poon said that IPI is still waiting for hundreds of H2B visa approvals, which he described as “beyond their control.”

“This issue could cause the potential delay of the ongoing hotel tower construction phase and other venues,” he said.

Poon said their current workforce will not meet the targeted deadlines as per the construction milestone schedule.

Poon said the construction of the hotel’s north wing building has been completed and the installation of furniture in villas is in progress. Building inspection is also in progress. Poon said the Department of Public Works inspected the hotel’s north wing last Jan. 22.

Last Jan. 21, the Historic Preservation Office and the Coastal Resources Management did a site visit to the proposed re-interment site for the human bones that had been dug up at the site.

Poon said the construction of all 14 villas was completed at the end of last December and only the presidential villa is still undergoing construction.

“We’ve been getting ready for DPW inspection,” he said, adding that opening date of the villas is up to IPI management.

Poon said the pending H2B visa applications is a potential delay in the project. “That’s something we worry about. But we cannot worry too much. Hopefully, the U.S. government will release the workers’ [visas soon],” he said, adding that he has no idea why the visas have not been approved.

Poon said other issues that caused the delay was the recent accident at the site, the crane, and the windy weather.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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