USCIS: If employer doesn’t file CW extension while valid, worker has to leave

240 days kick in while waiting for CW extension request
Posted on Jul 29 2019


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services clarified over the weekend that workers under the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker Program whose company did not apply to renew a worker’s labor permit while it was still valid will have to depart the CNMI on or before the expiration date of their current status.

A USCIS representative clarified further that the 240-day extension automatically kicks in only if an employer files for a CW-1 extension while the CW-1 status is valid.

“…The CW-1 [employee] may continue working in the CNMI, for the same employer, up to 240 days after the status has expired so long as the petition for an extension remains pending with USCIS,” the agency representative noted.

“If the employer does not file, the worker will be required to depart the [CNMI] on or before the expiration date of their current status,” the representative added. “[As for] any effect of a departure, we are not able to answer at this time.”

When asked when USCIS would be releasing the new regulations on CW-1 changes for fiscal year 2020, USCIS noted that there is no publication date yet.

“…Employers who wish to continue to employ a CW worker after Oct. 1, 2019, and before the revised regulations are published, should obtain a TLC [Temporary Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor] and file the CW-1 petition under the current regulations,” the representative noted.

The additional steps of securing a TLC, in which a Prevailing Wage Determination is a prerequisite, is a new regulation introduced early this year. USCIS advised that they would reject CW-1 petitions with an employment start date on or after Oct. 1, 2019, that are filed without the approved TLC.

“Other than complying with the TLC requirement for CW-1 petitioners with employment start dates on or after Oct. 1, 2019, CW-1 petitioners should continue to follow current USCIS regulations, procedures, and form instructions,” the USCIS representative stated.

Saipan Tribune also reached out to Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) over the weekend for comments on the lack of new regulations on fiscal year 2020 CW-1 petitions, but there was no response as of press time.

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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