CNMI-only Transitional Worker Regulations Proceeding

June 17, 2011

Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2011

The draft copy of the CNMI-only transitional worker regulations has been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. This represents the last stop before the regulations are released to the public.

I would guess that the regulations will be out no later than next month or maybe even this month.

What a long process, and truly an unnecessary one. If the CNRA had contained a provision for U.S. status for the legal, nonresident workers who have lived and worked in the CNMI for five or more years, any CNMI-only program would have been minor because the needed workforce would have been provided. Imagine the savings in costs to the federal tax payers if status had been provided. This will remain the major flaw of the CNRA, which must be corrected.

It will be expensive to run the guest worker program in the CNMI, but there are other problems. Getting qualified federal workers and foreign workers who want to work and stay in the CNMI won't be easy either. The CNMI is suffering under an extremely high crime rate, a depressed economy, a corrupt, dictatorial-style government, and an exodus of locals to "greener pastures".  Other deterrents are the racisim, the anti-federal sentiment, and the "indigenous rules" attitude that many residents and officials display like peacocks fanning their feathers. Not exactly the ideal destination for federal officials or foreign workers.

A successful federal nonresident worker program will also take education and coordination between departments and agencies. Even at this early stage we have witnessed the lack of coordination between DHS, USCIS and ICE, as law and policy has been interpreted in a variety of ways, resulting in harm and confusion.


Anonymous said...

It would seem that if this is a NMI only status until 2014 then it would be much better for the CW to look for other places that will pay more and at least they will get paid.
New Zealand and Canada come to mind as I have had many go there.
It seems like, on the first thought, that this may just be a way to keep everything status Quo with the same low wages in the private sector, (non payment)etc.
The end of this status seems like it would coincide with the Foreign Investment regs also in 2014.
If this is the final regs then all of the past hopes and wait was for naught.
Let them all leave and then lets see what the Govt. and private sector will do.
But, unfortunately many won't leave as they will just embrace the scraps that are thrown to them like the Boonie dog strays thus keeping the oppression and the rest of the abuse going.
Lets see what the actuall regs will say. But it doesn't look for so many that had held hope.

Wendy Doromal said...

It's not the regulations that will help the nonresident workers. What will help them, and what they deserve is nothing less than a bill to grant them U.S. status -a status that should have been written into the CNRA. Some apartheid-type, racist, un-American CNMI-only status like the one proposed in H.R. 1466 could actually hurt the nonresidents. Once this Congress acts it will be a long time, if ever, until they fix the mistakes of HR 1466. (We should know this from experience. How many people told me not to worry about taking the grandfathering provision out of the CNRA because they would then be writing legislation act to grant U.S. status -yeah right!)

The bill is one big un-American, un-democratic mistake that will harm many people. HR 1466 will keep the nonresidents chained to the CNMI. I believe it was written to keep the majority of the nonresidents permanently disenfranchised and unable to leave unless they return to their homelands where no homes or employment opportunities exist. It will perpetuate abuses because, like the old corrupt CNMI guest worker program, workers cannot leave and will remain without political or social rights. AND it leaves out MOST categories of nonresident workers who are not married to a U.S. citizen or have no U.S. children. AND it sets a dangerous precedent. Do we want Arizona-only status; Florida-only status? AND it smacks of racism. It says, "Let's keep those dedicated foreigner workers chained to the islands to continue slaving away for us, keep them disenfranchised and voiceless so the "superior race" can maintain control and rule of the CNMI."

The U.S. Congress needs to follow the intent of the CNRA and grant the nonresident workers permanent residency with a pathway to citizenship. Members of Congress and CNMI officials who back HR 1466 need to stop the lame excuses. It is an untruth to say such a bill could not pass because of the immigration situation in the U.S. I talked to people. Not one person said that they consider the LEGAL CNMI nonresidents in the same category as the U.S. illegals -not one! Not one said that the nonresidents should not have a federal immigration status and a pathway to citizenship.

I hope that every nonresident does find a place that views workers as future citizens. The CNMI is not that place unless Congress does the only right thing and grants them U.S. status. Check out Canada and Australia by all means.

Anonymous said...

Not sure with 'whom' you've been speaking with regarding improved status for non US Citizens, but not one member of Congress will come out in public and support such a notion. Not gonna happen. The US is in a double digit, double dip recession which may last for a decade. Unemployment is at an all time high. Anon above mentioned Canada and NZ, well there aren't plane loads of Filipinos arriving and getting work in either of those countries. I'm really tired of Filipinos being depicted as perpetual victims at the hands of foreigners. They (Filipinos) are not children and should be treated as adults. They need to start making some adult decisions.

Wendy Doromal said...

I bet many more than one will come out and speak publicly for status! I bet some who cosponsored HR 1466 will rethink what they actually signed, especially after they are challenged to explain how they openly support illegal immigrants being given status or a path to citizenship, BUT not legal ones because some self-serving and/or racist people want them to remain permanently disenfranchised.

All the statistics about unemployment have nothing -NOTHING - to do with less than 16,000 people who should have been granted permanent residency years ago from being granted it NOW -late and after they suffered indignities and theft of wages, but now is the time. Actually IT IS WAAAYYY PAST the time.

Please explain how all across the nation thousands of nonresidents are granted green cards EVERY week, and no one protests anywhere or speaks about the economy or your other weak arguments, but for some reason some people in the CNMI (and as far as I know ONLY people in the CNMI) believe that these nonresidents of the CNMI should not be given that privilege. DHS reports that 1,042,625 foreigners got green cards (legal permanent residency) in the United States in fiscal year 2010. Did anyone protest these 1 million immigrants from being given green cards? NO! Stop the spin and lies!

You said, "I'm really tired of Filipinos being depicted as perpetual victims at the hands of foreigners. They (Filipinos) are not children and should be treated as adults. They need to start making some adult decisions." Hello! They complain because they ARE viciims! Duh. The laws are not enforced in the CNMI. In the CNMI abusers walk free and victims remain ripped off! Attack the abusers who fail to pay them and they will not complain! Why don't you attack the Tinian Dynasty and Rota Hotel employers? Why aren't you attacking the hospitals that owe the Filipinos nurses money? Too may people toss out weak argument and spread lies and propaganda to persuade the nonresident workers from fighting for their rights. These nonresidents need to rise up now and speak out.

Anonymous said...

BTW, the anti-federal sentiment is felt by nearly all Americans who don't work for the federal government or state government. Federal employees are treated with disdain by the US taxpayer. They view the majority of federal workers as an underclass group of overpaid and under worked public servants who can't get fired. One of the reasons why the federal government did not shut down recently is nobody would notice anything. Obama's bloated central government needs to be downsized by at least fifty percent.

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 8:07

Your generalizations are not accurate. Federal taxpayers appreciate federal and state workers and KNOW that our country would stop functioning without them. Most liberal Americans hate waste, racism, discrimination, lies, injustice propaganda and spin. I have conservative family members and they also hate waste, spin, propaganda, lies, racism, discrimination, and injustice. Federal and state workers are treated with distain ONLY by Tea Party types,extreme Republicans and big mouth hate radio stars who don't have a clue. Just where do you come up with these nonfactual statements?

Anonymous said...

BTW, in New Zealand alone, there are more than 40k jobless residents.
This is attributed to attitude (concerning doing specific jobs) and also lack of education and qualifications.
Sounds pretty much like here in the NMI.
This is why New Zealand in particular are constantly recruiting outsiders from all over the world and also constantly revising their Immigration laws.
In the past it used to be two years of residency to be able to get a New Zealand passport. a few years ago it was changed to only six months.
At the time that a worker is recruited, the immigration clearance is also obtained for the entire immediate family of the worker.
The family is then illegible to be able to join the worker after his 90day probationary period.
Most of the companies will also help with the financing of a car and a house.(after probation)
One of the restrictions on recruitment is there is an age cap.
At age 54 an application will be denied. (except in certain jobs, such as a surgeon etc)
It takes about 90 days to process and application with all of the specific clearances.
A prospective employee has to have the advanced one way airfare to New Zealand, which will reimbursed after the probationary period.
In the case of a person sent back during the probationary period the company will pay for the return trip but will not reimburse the first ticket cost.
There are many foreign workers from all over the world recruited annually.
Many are also US Cit. The reason that maybe it is not so noticeable of "planeloads of Phil. workers" leaving is that each employment application is precessed by individual companies and unless a company is hiring a large number of workers, it is unnoticeable. Same as many CW returning to their home country and the local families leaving the island.
BTW there are also many farm jobs available.
ALSO English comprehension is an absolute must. many have been sent back because of this problem. Although a skilled worker they cannot follow instructions on their own and there are not five people doing one persons job as in the NMI.

Anonymous said...

Out of the 1 million green cards granted last year, 2/3 were relatives of U.S. citizens. And New Zealand has over 2 million workers with 6.6% unemployment which is over 100,000 unemployed workers. There are many farm and "carer" temporary jobs available in New Zealand with no chance of citizenship. Recently there were a number of "carers" who are actually registered nurses in the Philippines who were recruited in nursing homes that were denied extensions of their temporary visas. Businesses are designed to make money. If they can recruit higher skilled employees abroad for the same or less money they will. If businesses can make money off 5K-10K illegal recruiting fees they will. I expect the CW visa regs to be continued exploitation of non-residents and an explosion in off island hiring from abroad.

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 3:25

You said, There are many farm and "carer" temporary jobs available in New Zealand with no chance of citizenship.

My friend Sumon, a former Bangladeshi worker from Saipan, works on a kiwi farm in NZ and is now a citizen. He loves it there.

I also read about the Filipino nurses. They are abused and cheated around the world. In fact, they are suing a California hospital for discrimination. You are also correct in saying that businesses are out to make money, and unfortunately often at the expense of their employees. We need much tougher laws to protect workers, and ideally international laws to regulate foreign workers world-wide.

Anonymous said...

In regards to "laws to regulate foreign workers"
Years ago I had many workers, many from Phil. and Thailand.

The reason Phil. workers are hired in most places around the world is because of the majority of them speak and understand English.
Thai are better workers in many areas but the English is a problem on the whole.
The Thai Govt. also protects their workers against abuse by outside Govt. and it's labor laws (or lack of enforcement)
Also Thai workers have a faster post contract turnover and less multiple contract renewals and don't tend to stay away from their homeland for extended times due to many reasons.
The Thai Govt.years ago stopped approving Thai workers to come to the CNMNI because of labor abuses.
Although it was possible for some companies to get some Thai workers It made it very difficult to get workers out of Thailand because of the CNMI Govt's corrupt DOL

The Phil. Govt. also had passed laws to not approve under 21yrs workers to work abroad, especially as house workers, and dancers(but some do get through)
At the moment the Phil. and many other countries are ratifying more stringent laws that affect house workers in the form of a "treaty" to try and curb the mounting abuse by employers in many countries. Hopefully it will involve the US so that there is more "bite" into laws that affect the rampant abuses in the NMI.
The biggest problem is that the lack of reporting by the abused along with agencies to go to get help.

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 7:07 Thanks for the informative comment.

Anonymous said...

Carers and farm workers will not have enough "points" for New Zealand residency under the new immigration system. More emphasis is placed on the current job than education and skills. Previously, if a nurse with an advanced degree was working as a carer, they could easily obtain residency in New Zealand because of their background, but that changed in 2006/2007. Now the New Zealand government is not renewing many unskilled positions because there are unskilled New Zealand citizens out of work. Businesses are upset because their skilled employees holding unskilled positions are leaving and they now have to train their own.

Anonymous said...

BTW, a little more info on Overseas Workers,in the middle east, Saudi, Kuwait etc)there are protective laws in effect for the OFW's in these countries but these laws do not affect the house workers.
There is so much abuse in this Middle East area.
Employer rapes, beatings,and other abuses.
Many house workers running away from their employers.
In these areas it is illegal for OFW cohabitation. It is also illegal to show affection in public. These individuals,(both) if caught are immediately imprisoned. Same if a women gets pregnant.(even if raped by the employer) The Phil. embassy has an average of 4 cases of "love crimes" such imprisonment each month reported to them.
Thus the reason for a "treaty" which also includes the house workers and being able to certify many places as a "safe destination" for OFW's.
At the moment the Middle East is not really an approved destination.
Also Saudi is starting to restrict workers as they are trying to get their own people to take such jobs.