What Does an Umbrella Permit Represent?

January 20, 2010


It is really upsetting to hear that workers are lining up at the CNMI Department of Labor to get their umbrella permits "updated" for the reason of needing documentation to present to the Women, Infants and Children's Program (WIC) to get federal food stamps for their U.S. citizen children. I thought that the umbrella permits were valid until November 2011. So why the need to continue to report to the CNMI DOL?

Guest workers report that they are being charged fees to have their permits renewed. Why do they even need other permits if they have a valid umbrella permit? Other workers claim that their permits were revoked. Does DOL even have the power to revoke permits? Are they just trying to collect fees from the guest workers?

The Marianas Variety reports:
Labor Deputy Secretary Cinta Kaipat said their office continues to entertain “unfinished business” with some guest workers who have to complete their deficiencies.
She said they still have the authority to manage the workforce until 2011.
Do they? Do the guest workers need to continue reporting to DOL?

A December 12, 2009 Saipan Tribune article addressed some questions and answers on umbrella permits leaving many still confused. Here are some of the questions and answers (Notes and emphasis added):
Q: What is the report-back date on the umbrella permits?

A: The report-back date is the last date on which some necessary action must be taken to keep the umbrella permit in force. For holders of valid work permits, the report-back date is the date on which the work permit expires and a renewal or transfer should be in process. For those whose applications were in process when the umbrella permit was issued, the report-back date is the last date to correct deficiencies or appeal denials. For those with cases or claims, the report-back date is a date by which the matter is expected to be resolved. If the matter is not resolved by that date, a new report-back date will be set. For those who are seeking work, the report-back date is the date by which an employer intent form must be filed.
Q: How will the temporary handwritten umbrella permits be handled?

A: Temporary permits were issued in some cases because the computer system did not have a sufficient photo image or there was some other problem with the record from which the umbrella permits were printed. Temporary permits all carry a report-back date of January 15, 2009 [should read: January 15, 2010]. From December 15, 2009 through January 15, 2009, [should read: January 15, 2010] the holders of temporary permits may report to Labor Processing to pick up their permanent permit with their picture on it. Those who have no photos on file will be asked to supply a passport-sized photo.

Q: When will the department start issuing plastic cards again?

A: On December 15, 2009, after all of the records for the umbrella permit process have been put into the department's computer system.

Q: Where do IRs report for their annual registration now that the Immigration Division is gone?

A: Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens register with the Office of the Attorney General. Immediate relatives of aliens register with the Department of Labor.

Q: Who revokes umbrella permits?

A: An umbrella permit issued by the Labor Department will be revoked, if necessary, by the Labor Department. An umbrella permit issued by the Commerce Department will be revoked, if necessary, by the Commerce Department. An umbrella permit issued by the Immigration Division will be revoked, if necessary, by the Office of the Attorney General, except for umbrella permits issued to immediate relatives of aliens, which will be handled by the Labor Department.

The department will follow the same process it uses for revoking any permit. The Director of Labor will petition the Hearing Office to revoke the permit. The Hearing Office will hold a hearing to determine whether the permit should be revoked. A Hearing Officer will issue an order either revoking the permit or leaving it in force. Thereafter, parties will have an opportunity to appeal to the Secretary, and a further judicial review in the Commonwealth Superior Court.
What authority do they have to revoke the permits?

Guest workers are advised not to go to DOL. If any guest worker has any questions concerning umbrella permits and the process of reporting to DOL call the Federal Ombudsman Office:

Please call Cris/Glen if Tagalog or Sri Lankin - 322-8034/8038 and Li/Ripon if Mandarin, Cantonese or Bangladeshi - 322-8033/8037.

11 comments:

The Saipan Blogger said...

Wendy, who is advising them not to go to Labor (besides you)? Could you be more specific as to why they shouldn't? This is very confusing for people.

Anonymous said...

At the very least the U.S. government needs to tell the foreign parents of the US Citizen children what is valid documentation to apply for food stamps. An umbrella permit should suffice. Updated for what? They are valid until 2011.

Anonymous said...

This is really so infuriating!!!!Kaipat is just showing that she is doing something not be laid off. For goodness sake, stop pretending to be busy! Can somebody get to her senses or the grease already covered half of her brains? And don't tell me that some WIC personnel are coniving? What's the next agenda to twist the CW's neck?

Wendy said...

Hi Angelo

This issue will remain cloudy until a federal official comes out with a definitive statement regarding umbrella permits and the authority of the CNMI DOL. So the best advise is for people to contact the ombudsman's office. They will advise each person on an individual basis.

Anonymous said...

Don't go to the DHS Aplication Service Center. I asked similar "umbrella" questions there and they just stopped talking and rolled their eyes backwards at the mention of CNMI DOL.
The people there are very professinal, but just will not talk to you about this. Perhaps there are awaiting futher instruction?

Anonymous said...

This is like playing Russian Roulette on people's live. Someone from the govt. (i don't now which one) should start saying "guest workers should go" or "guest workers should stay". In turn, people can move on with their lives. For me, it's a simple black and white.

Anonymous said...

Just for clarity and accuracy, it appears that the dates you have in the 2nd Answer might be a typo.

You have:
Temporary permits all carry a report-back date of January 15, 2009 (should be 2010, yes?). From December 15, 2009 through January 15, 2009 (2010 yes?), the holders of temporary permits may report to Labor Processing to pick...

Feel free to delete this post after any corrections are made so as to reduce further confusion.

Wendy said...

Thank you. The typo is the CNMI's Department of Labor's. That is a direct quote from the Saipan Tribune link to the DOL's questions and answers on umbrella permits.

Anonymous said...

What I don't get is why all those people were lining up at Labor in the first place, and why Labor didn't come out and tell them it was unnecessary.

Labor's own published explanation of the report-back date (reprinted in this post) is that it is the date by which some procedural action was supposed to be taken. They never said you had to physically show up at Labor on that day and literally "report back." The whole thing seems like one mass delusion.

So why did everybody do it? Fear and confusion and because everybody else was doing it. Even stranger: Why did Labor go along with it? Are they wrong now or did they put the wrong explanation in the newspaper? And if that's wrong, where do you get the right explanation?

The umbrella permit concept is basically a good one, but it is new and unfamiliar, and it seems that Labor itself does not yet have a clear understanding of its own system.

Anonymous said...

Anon above said:

"This is like playing Russian Roulette on people's live. Someone from the govt. (i don't now which one) should start saying "guest workers should go" or "guest workers should stay". In turn, people can move on with their lives. For me, it's a simple black and white."

Nobody owes you US Citizenship or a pathway to whatever. You and thousands others in the CNMI are already Citizens of your own countries. You have a passport and every right to get on an airplane and go home when you want to. The United States did not force you to have children in the CNMI with a promise that when you do you will somehow get a Passport too. Grow up. The DHS office in the CNMI should be there to enforce immigration law, i.e. deport illegals and enforce current US laws. They should not be there to assist people in their endeavors for a better financial future.

yho villavicencio said...

noni 6:07 - huh? after doing a direct quote you blab about something entirely different about what you quoted.

you're right, we are free to go whenever we want. BUT, while we are still here, we would like to know what to do about our situation. it does not have anything to do with citizenship, having children here and such.


U.S. CITIZEN employers need to know what is going on too. how about that?