Questions for DOL

March 11, 2010

A great open letter to DOL from foreign contract worker leader Malou Bereuco:

If you cannot kick them, kick something else

I do have some few questions with the CNMI DOL. If your department still has the authority you are claiming, No. 1, why did your department rush the issuance of umbrella permits before Nov. 28, 2009?, and No. 2, why is it that the issued Foreign National ID Card does not contain an issuance date, unlike previous permits your departments issued? Is it because you are aware or are confused about your authority? No. 3, if you are claiming you still have the authority to issue permits, then why not issue those unclaimed umbrella permits sitting in your department?

We all have to admit that the intention of your department to issue umbrella permits was not to stabilize the workforce for two years but to make it appear during election time that the CNMI government was concerned about its economy. And let's all admit that we were all surprised at how the federal government accepted and/or considered those umbrella permits.

Instead of exhausting your energy and intelligence on how to control the aliens' status (which you have given to most of us, thank you so much for your generosity!), why not work with other government agencies to find ways and funds on how to train your citizens to be workers, such as seminars/workshops on food processing, agriculture and fisheries, to establishing micro-businesses. Does the CNMI really need to import langoniza, tocino, daing, tilapia, eggs, or even ginger?

Malou Berueco
As Gonno, Saipan
Malou makes some excellent points. DOL's focus needs to shift from overseeing a foreign workforce to training the locals.

This letter implies that DOL is issuing Foreign National IDs even before the omnibus ominous legislation H.B. 17-25 has even come up for a vote. Is this true?

What are the fees for this permit? If anyone has a copy of a Foreign National ID please send me one.

UPDATE: Thanks to a friend I have received a copy of the Foreign National ID that DOL is charging workers for now. Notice it has an expiration date so the DOL can continue to rake in their revenue, but as Malou pointed out, no issue date. Perhaps because it was issued before the cards were legally authorized? The law has not even passed yet this new ID is in effect. I blocked out the photo and identifying information:



21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Isn't it that national id is part of law? Then why give them out before law passes? I heard some workers got them already.

Anonymous said...

The CNMI is a huge exporter. Of brains. But the supply is running short.

the teacher said...

This comment below is correct Malou:

"the intention of your department to issue umbrella permits was not to stabilize the workforce for two years but to make it appear during election time that the CNMI government was concerned about its economy."

There were three other pluses for the administration to umbrella people as well.

2. To keep workers here and restricted
3. To keep a CNMI DOL
4. To vote garner among citizens with close ties and relationships to imperiled (immigration wise) residents

They always wanted to control workers with fear but when push came to shove, the Governor was too closely connected to business here to actually want them (workers) to leave.

BAROK said...

i have a copy ms. wendy...i will scan it and send to you!

yho r. villavicencio said...

anon 7:33 - huge EXPORTER of brains... what do you mean?

Anonymous said...

$350.00 - cost of "renewal of permits" to COL
$25.00 - cost of Foreign National ID

This info for those who are not yet aware of the fee, which was similar to the existing amount as DOL had before.

Anonymous said...

Ever hear of karma, Cinta?

MAW said...

YHO, probably because their brain is new-never been used...unlike your brain & my brain, over used!...

Wendy said...

11:12

Do you mean $350 to DOL? For what? What renewal of permit? No one needs to renew anything. Tell me no one is paying these fees!? Please if you are a foreign worker do not go to DOL -go to the ombudsman's office for assistance. Especially those who had permits "revoked" by DOL.

Wendy said...

Barok -Thank you. doromal@earthlink.net

Anonymous said...

Yes your correct Malou ,why we dont teach some local citizen like cinta to make a longaniza, we can even make her (Kaipat)belly for the longaniza or throw her on the fish pond so the great tilapia eat her and her big boss....

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy, as I am telling you, employers are still paying them. If employees are confused, the same way with the employers as well. Let's put it this way, though expensive, employers are still processing "working permits" the same as before as what DOL required and at the same time processing whatever the feds required.

Wendy said...

Thank you so much Barok. Under what authority is DOL issuing these cards and collecting fees? The Foreign National ID is part of legislation H.B. 17-25 which has not been enacted into law.

Why on earth are foreign workers paying for these? Why are employers paying for permits? Employers could call USCIS or the Ombudsman Office for advice as well.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the legislators question DOL and their permit system? Aren't they any smart ones?

red october said...

The revenue sources of CNMI DOL will go south very soon,THEY WILL FALL ON THIER OWN WIEGHT.Stay tuned folks.

Jack Woods said...

Seems like a lot of ignorance going on around here. Let's see if this gets posted or not, since it goes against the grain.

1) The umbrella permits were issued by immigration when they had the proper authority to issue them.

2) The umbrella permits had conditions put on them. Anyone can read their own umbrella permit and see the conditions themselves. One of these was a revocation date. Another condition was complying with Labor rules and regulations.

I think there is a big misunderstanding among people who don't really have a clue on how things generally work many places around the world.

In the Philippines, work permits are separate from visas. The local labor office approves work permits while immigration handles the visas themselves.

In Thailand where I have a lot of experience, work permits are also separate from visas. Basically the procedure in Thailand is to apply for a work permit, once the work permit is granted by the Ministry of Labor, the Immigration Division will extend the visa. If at any point the work permit is cancelled then the visa is cancelled and you have 7 days to leave the country. It's pretty straightforward. If you want to keep your visa, you keep your work permit active, including complying with everything the MOL and your employer wants.

Yes, I was a guest worker for 7 years. I dealt with ridiculous bosses and BS paperwork, but it was something I chose to deal with because I wanted to live in Thailand.

I suspect that CNMI Labor has adopted the same type of system. Basically, entry permits and work permits were the same, but now they are separate. This separation was the only way they could still control foreign labor while at the same time losing control of immigration.

Maybe they thought they were being ingenious, but they were utilizing a well worn path.

I have a feeling that they are requiring the Foreign National ID card as a demonstration of that delinking of the visa from the work permit.

In other words, the Foreign National ID Card serves as the work permit while the paper umbrella permit serves as an immigration entry permit.

There is some basis for this in US immigration law as well. Palau citizens can live in the US without any visa, but if they want to work in the US then they need an Employment Authorization Document. It needs to be renewed on a regular basis(I think every year).

Again, this is just conjecture on my part and I sure wish DOL would confirm it. I also wish that they would have been more transparent when they gave out the umbrella permits.

I frankly don't see what the hoopla is all about though, The dual system just allows Labor to continue as it has until November 2011. Those who qualify a US visa can get a US visa. Those who don't merely need to comply with the laws as they have in the past.

Anonymous said...

Jack Woods--- Who gives a crap what DOL does or says? They have had their plug pulled. Read the statements from Pamela Brown, the DHS and DOI's Babauta.

MALOU BERUECO said...

JACK WOODS: read the news 2 posts by ms. wendy...i am not as good as you in speaking & understanding english, but i have a clearer understanding of this issues than you...why???
cinta k.-from me, yho & ernest'13, condolences!

Anonymous said...

Jack woods it is you who "don't have a clue."

Anonymous said...

Talk about a JACK A$$! Foreign National ID is garbage. DO NOT GO TO DOL!

BAROK said...

JACK A. (W)-you surely know how to get attention!!!!...
do you regret not visiting facebook first before posting here??? if i were on your shoes, i would be...but for sure, i won't be having the same opinions as you...
huhuhuhuhuhu!...what happened to you? you were not like that before...