Kilili urges employers with denied CW-1 visas to come forward

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) urges business establishments who have had their general maintenance workers’ CW-1 visa denied to approach his office for assistance.

In a statement released over the Christmas holiday, Sablan urged business owners to approach his office in Susupe.

“…I strongly encourage any employer who believes that their employees have been erroneously classified as new construction workers to come to the congressional office for assistance,” he said in the statement.

Sablan’s office is working to reverse U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ decision to deny the CW-1 applications for general maintenance occupations after USCIS deemed this occupation type to be barred after Sablan’s H.R. 339 was enacted in mid-2017.

According to Sablan, H.R. 339 specifically applies to construction workers only, which is derived from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Standard Occupational Classification Group 47-000, which refers specifically to construction workers and was utilized in the language of H.R. 339.

“Maintenance, repair, utility worker, and many other positions are in entirely different occupational categories and should not be barred from the CW-1 program,” said Sablan, adding that bringing forward “specific cases of misclassification” is important because of the difficulty for his office and of USCIS to “address anecdotal complaints, especially since USCIS adjudicates all CW-1 petitions on a case-by-case basis.”

According to Sablan, two of three cases of general maintenance employees who got denied have already been reversed while a decision is still pending for the third case.

“Like [Gov. Ralph DLG Torres] and many others, my heart goes out to the workers and employers who have been part of our community for years and helped build our economy. I have worked hard to help them, and I am continuing to do so,” said Sablan, adding that there has been “good progress in the bipartisan, bicameral working group in the U.S. Congress.”

The working group Sablan was referring to was the group led by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and was also reportedly willing to introduce legislation for the extension of the CW-1 program as well as set new parameters for the program.

While Sablan said in previous interviews that nothing solid has been ruled out in the extension and the bill itself has yet to be written, he remains optimistic that the U.S. Congress would rule in favor of extending the program.

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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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