USCIS: 240-day extension only applies after USDOL requirements

If USCIS rejects CW petition, 240-day extension not allowed

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services clarified Tuesday that the 240-day extension only kicks in when the agency is in possession of the CW renewal petition.

In an email to Saipan Tribune through an agency representative, USCIS said that the 240-day extension only applies when the CW petition is pending a decision by the agency—meaning it only kicks in after an employer secures the U.S. Department of Labor’s Temporary Labor Certificate, or TLC.

“An employee in CW-1 nonimmigrant status may lawfully continue working for up to 240 days after the previously approved CW-1 status expires if…the current employer files a CW-1 petition asking to continue a previously approved employment; the employer files the petition before the CW-1 status expires; and [if] the employer asks to extend the employee’s stay in the petition,” the USCIS representative told Saipan Tribune, adding that the 240-day extension would not take effect if USCIS had rejected the employer’s petition.

The 240-day extension, according to the representative, begins on the date that the CW visa expires.

“The period continues until USCIS issues a decision on the petition or until 240 days after the CW-1 status expires, whichever comes first. The terms and conditions of the employment must remain the same as those previously approved.” the agency representative said.

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce noted in a previous statement that they wished to seek clarity on the new CW petition regulations in relation to the enactment of the CNMI Workforce Act of 2018. As of publication, USCIS has not published new regulations on the legislation.

According to a previous Chamber statement, businesses are experiencing delays from the USDOL side of requirements for their CW petitions.

“…Businesses are telling us getting the TLC is taking about three to four weeks,” the Chamber noted. “We have only heard of a handful of companies that have received a TLC back, and they are only receiving TLCs for very few of their applications submitted. Some companies are at this step and have been waiting more than three weeks to a month for this TLC.”

The Chamber also noted that they have not learned of a single employer who has already completed the USDOL side of CW renewals. One employer reportedly submitted 80 TLC applications and only received one confirmed TLC back, raising fears in the private sector that they would eventually have to send their CW employees home come fiscal year 2020 this Sept. 30, 2019.

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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