‘No processing time period for PWD issuances’


There is no required processing times for the issuance of the Prevailing Wage Determinations, or PWDs, according to CNMI Department of Labor representative Eugene Tebuteb.

Speaking at Wednesday’s Society for Human Resource Management NMI Chapter meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan ballroom, Tebuteb said: “There is no statutory or regulatory processing time requirement for issuing PWDs. The [U.S. Department of Labor] recognizes the importance of issuing out PWDs in an expeditious manner. The department recommends that employers file CW-1 prevailing wage requests at least 90 days before they are needed,” said Tebuteb, quoting information that they’ve obtained from USDOL.

In a bid to clear up some confusion regarding the Prevailing Wage Surveys and the Prevailing Wage Determinations, Tebuteb is encouraging CNMI employers to submit any questions they may have for the U.S. Department of Labor to his office, so he could forward them to the appropriate authorities.

Tebuteb said the U.S. DOL has so far received a total of 24 questions. He said that they are still taking questions from businesses about the entire process of hiring foreign workers and that the best way in order for them to resolve all the confusion regarding the process is to send the CNMI DOL their questions about the matter.

He said that SCC members will be receiving a copy of the answered questions from the USDOL. “You can give us a call… or you could email me your exact questions, so we can forward it to the USDOL,” he said.

He said the process will be expedited as his office has a direct link to the USDOL.

For more information, call the CNMI DOL division of employment services at (670) 664-3190 or (670) 322-0996, or email etebuteb.dol@gmail.com.

According to the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, they previously noted that several companies on Saipan have also been experiencing massive delays for their Temporary Labor Certifications, or TLCs—to the point where employers fear losing their employees.

“Employers are fearful they will not be able to submit their completed CW renewal application by [Sept. 30, 2019] due to the delays in receiving the wage determination, TLCs, and the other processes needed for approval,” the Chamber noted in a statement in early August 2019.

The Chamber noted that, as of early August 2019, the organization has not learned of a single employer who has completed the USDOL-side of the CW-1 petition requirements.

“One employer who submitted 20 TLCs [has] only received one TLC. This took one month. Another submitted 40 and received one, another [submitted] 80 and received one,” the statement added.

In a separate statement to Saipan Tribune, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services noted that the 240-day extension for CW visa holders will only kick in if the renewal petition was submitted before the visa’s expiry and if USCIS is still pending a decision.

This means that employees whose CW renewal petitions are still in the USDOL stage would have to exit the CNMI come Oct. 1, 2019.


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