Another Reason to Grant the Legal, Long-Term Workers Green Cards

October 20, 2012


Soon no foreign countries may allow their citizens to work in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). It is truly a dangerous destination.

Most CNMI foreign workers experience routine wage theft and their employers seldom, if ever, face consequences or pay them what they are owed.

The government hospital cannot meet payroll, owes the foreign contract workers months of  housing allowances. The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CUC) has been placed on immediate Jeopardy Status for numerous violations and risks losing federal funding.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) fails to thoroughly investigate burglaries, assaults, rapes and murders. In recent months, high ranking DPS officials have appeared to be as involved in breaking the law as in enforcing the law. Anyone would be risking their safety in accepting a position in the CNMI at this time.

It was no surprise that the Philippine Government's Department of Labor and Employment has issued an advisory warning medical personnel against applying for jobs in the CNMI. Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz cites "dire economic conditions" and warned that the Commonwealth Health Corporation "may not have the financial capacity to meet the payroll needs of new medical employees."

The DOLE report cited an August 21, 2012 report from the Philippine Consulate as the basis of the warning.

Filipino nurses on Rota, Tinian and Saipan have been cheated of wages for over three years, so this warning was predictable.

Expect more warnings and even bans from other countries. In fact, it would not be surprising if in the near future the CNMI finds itself unable to recruit any new foreign workers. The deplorable working conditions, corrupt government, critical economic conditions, extremely high cost of living, useless law enforcement agency and flawed CNMI-Only Guest Worker Program  likely makes the CNMI a last choice destination for most foreign workers.

It is time that the CNMI government take action to push for permanent residency for the remaining long-term foreign workers in the islands before a serious shortage of skilled workers occurs.

Some CNMI residents realize that granting permanent residency to the foreign workers is the only solution. In a letter to the editor published in the Saipan Tribune, Rota resident Justin Manglona wrote:
What CNMI officials need to do is to work with U.S. Immigration to grant all foreign workers who came here legally and have been working for at least five years U.S. citizenship or at the very least a green card. Without them, practically all businesses in the CNMI will close down. This is a fact that the federal government needs to know. The small number of our people who are unemployed and receiving food stamps are unskilled, old, or disabled. The few that can be trained (if there is training money) would leave the CNMI once they have the skills because the salaries are better elsewhere. So the cycle of labor shortages will never be solved. Again, we need to impress on the U.S. Congress that the CNMI lacks the necessary labor pool for any meaningful development. Thus U.S. immigration policies need to be more accommodating to allow foreign workers to remain. No country in the world, including the United States, China, or Japan, can do everything by themselves like medical research, inventions, and other technological work without experts from other countries partnering with them. So the idea that come 2014 all foreign workers in the CNMI must leave is a racist policy that has no place in our democratic government.
Well stated.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

That warning is long overdue, I wanted them to ban Filipino CWs from coming here. No more new hiring. Under this Phils. administration, I'm hopeful this will happen. Phils. DOL have now installed new policies for sending OCWs to Middle East so I guess they're in the process of reviewing for CNMI. I am still hopeful they'll see their citizens' situations here on CNMI.

Anonymous said...

hafadai,
mr.manglona is totally right.we are in democracy so give them what they are deserving.we are just human being and usa is the one best country to live in.they prove it to support our people/government from last how many decades.our corrupted government official really play with innocent foreigner.we all knew about it:).that's why they stay here from last how many years.my fan it is not joke to stay far from home for 2 or more years.laniya imagine if any islander in this kind of situation.i can't stay another place then saipan for even more then 3 month.its an fact that our government people has played with them for self political game to just get vote.our grand parents were also refugee then they became citizen of this beloved nation.what is wrong to give them what they deserve? at least green card must be given as a human sympathy/rights and its the law of our nation.
i have no idea how our federal/congress panel fail to right decision on this matter.any way karma is running behind and time is money.it is not too late to decide.i request to our all people to come up and give the people who really hard worked for our community.taking advantage of innocent human must be stop soon as a possible.lets welcome them to be part of our community.its each of them choice want to stay or live in another part of our country.they prove it that they really love and want to be part of our nation.helping another human is one of the best thing on earth.lets we show our heart that we are just like them.our nation welcomes thousand of another nation people by DV lottery program so why don't our alien workers are left from?who are been here long time and paying taxes and helping us to run our island/government.we all knew what's going on.we are all fully aware of our government people what they have done/doing past and present.most are corrupted sorry to say that and its true fact.we all knew now. it is time to help each others who are been residents here.
lets decide right thing for all people here called home.amen. god bless usa

Anonymous said...

No Filipino will be allowed to work in the CNMI, coming from the PI regardless of what the PI says. The United States has set the goal of ZERO CWs.

Anonymous said...

3:01, Wrong, the United States has not set the CW to zero.

There is and has been regs in place to bring in foreign workers under one of the "Visa" worker class.

There are requirements that have to be met and one of them is that no US Worker is available for the job. There is a restriction on the total number allowed per year in the US.
At one time NMI (i think Guam also) was not under the cap.

There should not be any more CW allowed in the NMI after next year.
[There is now such CW allowed anywhere in the US this is unique to the CNMI only.]
Any new workers and the present ones should all be under those "visa Reg" to stay and work in the CNMI.
Do away with the present CW visa, no to any extension, all that qualify and are hired by the respective employer stay.
These "visa" worker may also apply for their families to accompany them under a separate visa.

Anonymous said...

If a skilled local who was born and raised in the CNMI, will leave for Guam or the mainland for higher salaries, why on earth would a nonresident worker stay if they were granted green cards.

When prevailing wages are finally introduced in the CNMI (which are part of every federal work visa except the CW), wages for skilled labor will increase and local skilled workers will remain in the CNMI. Semi-skilled workers such as bookkeepers (accountants), dialysis techs (registered nurses), cashiers and receptionsts (HRM/Tourism majors) will be trained on the job.

Currently it is cost effective to keep loyal and often degreed CW's than hire local undegreed workers with untested work ethics. If CW workers are granted green cards, all bets are off and business owners are well aware of it.

Wendy Doromal said...

2:09 Why should the CNMI foreign workers be granted green cards? Because that is the ONLY moral and ethical solution. Want to keep workers? TREAT THEM FAIRLY whether they are U.S. citizens or foreign workers. Treat them with dignity, offer competitive wages and benefits.