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IPI Mongolian workers to be repatriated in May

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After much delay, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC now has a date for the repatriation of its Mongolian workers.

In a status report filed last Monday, lawyer Michael Dotts, who represents IPI in this case, told the U.S. District Court for the CNMI that progress has been made in repatriating IPI’s Mongolian construction workers. Dotts said IPI is hopeful that a total of 106 Mongolians employees can return to their home country in early May.

These workers, who entered the CNMI on H2-B work visas, had applied to convert their visa status to CW-1, but it wasn’t guaranteed and are awaiting approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. However, IPI is now working on sending these workers home because of the uncertainty of USCIS’ approval.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, IPI has already repatriated four Thai construction workers. Other workers, however, have refused to leave the island until they are paid their back wages, while others are looking at changing their immigration status and travel restrictions in some places have yet to be lifted.

Of the six Malaysians remaining, one has applied to renew his CW visa status with IPI, and the other five do not want to depart until they are fully paid.

As for the Taiwanese workers, 11 have applied to change their status from H-2B to CW with a different employer.

Eleven Turkish employees who have decided not to depart still remain on island, and two of the group’s members strongly refuse repatriation.

Construction work at the IPI casino-resort site remains suspended as ordered by the court.

Meanwhile, IPI employee housing still has power and food services have continued without interruption for all H-2B workers.

IPI’s next payday (payroll 9) is scheduled for April 23.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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