News for Foreign Workers

November 17, 2011

Workers Get Parole!
Unemployed workers who have sought humanitarian parole to remain in the CNMI after the November 27, 2011 have been granted parole until January 31, 2012.

Parole is granted on a case-to-case basis.  Legal long-term nonresident workers who have U.S. citizen children and those without a U.S. immediate relative have been given parole.

From the Saipan Tribune:
Another unemployed nonresident, Feliciano Mangahas, who does not have a U.S. citizen child on Saipan, said he also asked and was granted parole until Jan. 31, 2012.

“I lost my job in 2009 but I have an umbrella permit expiring on Nov. 27. I am really hoping I will get a job soon,” the 47-year-old said.

Mangahas, who came to Saipan in 2004 to work as a farmer, said the additional two months will allow him to continue looking for a job so he could support his seven children in the Philippines.

“If I really can't find an employer, then I will go home but at least I have two more months to look for a job,” he said.

The “notice of parole status” that accompanies the Form I-94 given to nonresidents like Mangahas reads: “Your request for an extension of your parole has been approved. Your parole is authorized until Jan. 31, 2012. If you have not received any further information regarding your immigration status by Jan. 31, 2012, please contact USCIS office...”
Other foreign workers have been given parole for a longer period of time. Aida Camacho was given parole until October 2013.

It is scary that less than 1,000 of the estimated 14,000 to 16,000 legal, long-term workers have been petitioned by their employers for CW visas. This is something no one expected.

The U.S. Congress has failed the legal, long-term foreign workers of the CNMI and this time there is no lobbyist to blame. This partisan do-nothing Congress can accept all of the responsibility for ignoring the plight of the 16,000 legal, long-term foreign workers. Shame on the House members who have the audacity to call themselves immigration reformists.

Delegate Gregorio Sablan announced that HR 1466, the bill that addresses the status of 3 categories of nonresidents and only 4,000 of the legal long-term workers, had been approved by the Judiciary Committee with an amendment to take even more from the bill that was a mere crumb in the first place. It is hard to be excited about progress on this legislation when 3/4 of the legal, long-term foreign workers have been purposely and callously left out and the bill and it merely proposes a CNMI-only status for the 4,000 covered. That inferior status would chain the workers to the CNMI and continue their oppression and disenfranchisement. Read more about the bill at this post.

Beware of Scams
While advocates expected illegal recruitment and other scams to end under the federal guest worker program, they are continuing and are more sinister than ever. The long delay in releasing the final regulations combined with the inaction of the do-nothing U.S. Congress that failed to respond to the April 2010 DOI report to introduce legislation to grant status to the legal, longterm foreign workers, has created an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and desperation.

Unscrupulous manpower agencies are charging the unemployed foreign workers as much as $1,000 in recruitment and agency fees for a CW visa or promise of a job. Of course, there is no guarantee that the USCIS will approve the petition for the visa. There is no guarantee that these agencies even have employers and jobs lined up for the applying foreign workers.

The Saipan Tribune quoted USCIS District Director David Gulick:
The final worker regulations are clear that the employer-not the employee-should pay for the $325 application fee and the $150 education funding fee.

“Any biometrics fee or other fees, [including] the fee for an application for a spouse as a dependent, can be paid by the [employee],” he said.

Gulick said employers are not supposed to collect money from workers to pay for the application fee or the education fee.

“Their employer.should to be the one who would have to pay those fees. To collect them from the employees is a violation of the regulations,” he said. “If they're saying they need to pay advance for the application fees, if you're talking about employment-based application, then the workers should be aware that that's not allowed under most of our immigration categories.” 
CW petitions that are filed by employers who are found to have asked their employees to pay for the fees would likely be denied.
Couldn't an agency just claim that these fees they are charging for USCIS fees are their documentation, processing or job placement fees?  How would USCIS prove that the agency fees that were taken paid for the visas? Even Director Gulick could not answer the question of what legitimate fees a manpower agency could charge.

U.S. Citizens Only
Is it legal for an employers to advertise a job for "Qualified U.S. Citizens" or is this considered discrimination? What if a permanent resident; a FAS citizens; a CNMI permanent resident is qualified for the job?  Do EEOC rules apply to advertising? Or perhaps all of the Saipan companies that are advertising job vacancies and include the phrase, "US citizen workers" or "qualified US workers" are attempting to prove that they considered a U.S. citizen as a candidate.

A look at some Saipan Tribune classified advertisements reveal some companies are advertising for U.S. citizens.  On October 25, 2011, page 20 the Chalan Kanoa Beach Hotel advertised for "Qualified U.S. citizens" to fill 13 positions for a variety of jobs from cook to computer technician. It states, "Qualified U.S. Citizens should submit their  resume to Chalan Kanoa Beach Hotel Front Office."

On page 22 of the October 26, 2011 Saipan Tribune Top Development, Inc. advertised for an accountant and stated, "Interested Qualified US Workers may submit resume to . . ." On the same page in the same issue Thomas Chong advertises for "3 - masseuse" and states, "vacancy announcement - US Workers." He uses the same phrase in an advertisement for Jobel Corporation with vacancies for teachers and 1 teacher assistant. Again, on the same page other businesses also advertise job vacancies specifically for "US citizens." They include LC Corporation, LDK, Inc., and Ran Corp.

Numerous other employers also post job vacancies specifically for "U.S. citizens." The Saipan Tribune, October 27, 2011 issue, page 21 has businesses targeting U.S. workers. They include Philippine Goods Construction, Inc., Dive Marianas, Corp., ASC Arch Structure Corp.,  and Saipan Auto Clinic.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? Do you actually read the regulations before you post to your blog? While technically the phrase "U.S. citizen" might be maybe, perhaps, sort of, questionable (and I kind of doubt even that), anyone advertising for a "U.S. worker" is not only within the law, they are COMPLYING with it.

The final regulations provide a definition:

"United States worker means a national of the United States,
an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or a national of
the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall
Islands, or the Republic of Palau who is eligible for nonimmigrant
admission and is employment-authorized under the Compacts of Free
Association between the United States and those nations."

and further state

"Eligible employers. To be eligible to petition for a CW-1
nonimmigrant worker, an employer must:
(i) Be engaged in legitimate business;
(ii) Consider all available United States workers for the position
being filled by the CW-1 worker;"

and yet further state

"Appropriate documents. Documentary evidence establishing
eligibility for CW status is required. A petition must be accompanied
by:
. . .
(ii) An attestation by the petitioner certified as true and
accurate by an appropriate official of the petitioner, of the
following:
(A) No qualified United States worker is available to fill the
position;"

To be sure, there are plenty of shady employers out there, but if you have a beef with employers using language exactly (or closely) mirroring what is required by the federal government, then perhaps you shouldn't start your rant with "is it legal for employers to..." and instead start it with "is it legal for the federal government to..."

Please exercise your right to free speech with responsibility instead of asking suggestive and open-ended questions, the answers to which you either know or have the ability to find out without a legal degree and within minutes.

And in anticipation of your response, don't split hairs about whether the employers use the word "preferred" or not. Any employer including language even remotely suggestive of a desire to employ U.S. workers is clearly complying with the intent of the CNRA and the regulations.

Take your beef to the feds, not to the employers who are trying to comply with their laws and regulations.

Anonymous said...

It is technically an EEOC violation to use the phrase "US Citizens only", because it does not include qualified U.S. workers such as green card holders, those with asylum and trafficking visas, FAS citizens and others. Businesses are complying with the law if they have a preference for "U.S. workers", and any advertisement that states "U.S. workers only" is in compliance with EEOC regulations.

Wendy Doromal said...

Are you serious? I did not say anyone was breaking the law, rather I ASKED if the practice of advertising for US citizens for job vacancies was legal. There are other groups of people in the US who are equally qualified to accept positions on US soil including FAS citizens, green card holders and in the CNMI, CNMI permanent residents. And no, the ads did not say “preferred.”

This was not a “beef”, rather an attempt to seek clarification.

I know the law. I still have questions about this practice, which is why I asked. Maybe you should exercise responsibility when posting. Read this again.

Anonymous said...

In regards to the small number of current CW that have been petitioned.

One of the problems could be that there is about nothing construction wise going on.
Only a few small projects or some on going projects. Nothing big that looms in the future.
I do not know the stats on just how many workers are in the Construction trades compared to the other types of workers but Saipan is dead as far as economy and without the Construction trades (or tourism) there is little trickle down effect..
Guam has also slowed down due to any, new buildup contracts being halted for at least 6 months (at the start of Sept) to be reevaluated for costs etc.
There are many Construction companies that have much of their equipment parked and only a minimum employees on payroll to watch the yards and do necessary chores.
Some companies had set up in Guam and had petitioned work visa for some of their people. Now much have no other contracts once the ones they are working on are finished.

Any possible contract are only from the NMI Govt. agencies and many of us won't do any work for the Govt. unless we can afford to put money up front and wait for maybe over a year or longer to get paid.
Any time I am begged from the Govt.for something. I get a PO and then have them process it and get paid before I will do the job.(Is it legal? probably not but I get my money)

Some others that I have talked to in Saipan are not hiring house workers or farm and/or maintenance workers due to the cost and also possible problems with the Feds in case of a complaint.
This is only what I see, there may be another reason why the small amount of applicants and maybe there will be a very large last minute influx, we shall see.

I have locals that will be returning from Guam after the present project is completed. There is no job available for them in Saipan and my contract "visa" workers presently in Guam, I will send home to their country along with their families in the CNMI (at my expense)

Also there are plans by many Us Cit. to leave the CNMI. Many that have business will close, many will just go somewhere until this corrupt administration is out and then see what happens.
Maybe just set up somewhere in another country. Too many opportunities in Asia now.
I am one of those people making such plans..