‘Proposed CW cap hike would offset worker losses’


If ever the proposed increase in the numerical limit of the CNMI-Only Transition Worker Nonimmigrant Visa or CW1 program becomes a law, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres believes it would more than make up for the shortage of U.S. qualified workers in the CNMI.

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP)’s House Resolution 6401 unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives last Tuesday. It is now in the U.S. Senate. Sablan, Torres, and other government officials and local business leaders hope that President Barack Obama would sign it before his term ends next year.

Torres said their goal to attract U.S. eligible workers to the CNMI remains but the CNMI’s work population does not have the capacity to support the current economic boom the Commonwealth is experiencing.

“It has always been our goal to bring in as many U.S. eligible workers into the labor force as possible. But in the absence of a greater number of U.S. eligible workers, the CNMI relies on this important increase to continue to provide for economic growth so families in the CNMI can enjoy greater standards of living,” said Torres.

He said that HR 6401’s passing just shows the importance and significance of the CW1 program to the CNMI economy, which had seen a dramatic increase since 2009. He then congratulated Sablan for his work.

“I congratulate [Delegate] Sablan for his work on seeing this bill through the House and will continue to work with him to ensure our economy can continue to grow for the benefit of each resident of our CNMI,” added Torres.

HR 6401 aims to amend Public Law 94-241 with respect to the Northern Mariana Islands. If it becomes a law, it would increase the number of CW permits from 12,998 to 15,000 in fiscal year 2017. HR 6401 is also known as the Northern Mariana Islands Economic Expansion Act.

HR 6401 would bar construction workers from using the increase in CW1 visas; they would to go to the H2 category as required by law. HR 6401 would also increase the education fee for each approved CW permit of a foreign worker from $150 to $200, with the funds going to the training of U.S. qualified workers.


Saipan Chamber of Commerce secretary Alex Sablan also apologized for an error in the statement he gave in Wednesday’s SCC general membership meeting at the Saipan World Resort’s Royal Taga Hall.

At that meeting, Alex Sablan said that HR 6401 was placed as a rider on American Samoa’s Republican Delegate Amata Radewagon’s legislation. “I [would like] to apologize to [Delegate] Sablan.”

“I stated in error during last Wednesday’s [SCC] general membership meeting that Delegate Sablan’s HR 6401 was placed as a rider with Delegate Radewagon’s legislation.”

“I now know this was not the case and that Delegate Sablan introduced this legislation separately and independently, working diligently with members of U.S. Congress for its successful passage in the House of Representatives.”

“I apologize for my misstatement and I again thank Delegate Sablan for his continued great work in U.S. Congress pursuing this and additional legislation that will truly help to sustain and grow our CNMI economy for all residents and citizens to benefit from and enjoy.”   

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.