Foreign Worker News

December 26, 2012

I am glad to see that others are protesting the latest blunder by USCIS in the CNMI-Only Transitional Guest Worker Program.  As I wrote earlier this month in a post, Another Glitch in the CNMI Only Transitional Program, it makes no sense to tell CW workers that they cannot work while their renewal applications are being processed. No humanitarian sense, no economic sense, no sense at all.

The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce and the Society for Human Resources-NMI have written a joint letter to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas requesting that CW workers be allowed to continue working while their pending approvals are processed.

The USCIS could not even process initial applications in a timely manner, with over 2,500 of the 12,247 original CW applications still remaining unprocessed over a year after they were submitted. Of course the renewal process will also be completed at a snail's pace since it is obvious that this program is not a priority of USCIS.

I wrote some letters also! My solution is simple. Grant green cards to the legal, longterm foreign workers so that they can be made whole and the business community will have the skilled workforce it needs. This solution would also greatly reduce, and eventually end, the expensive and dysfunctional CNMI guest worker program.

On Exempting Social Security Taxes for Filipino Guest Workers
While people are celebrating the fact that the IRS will continue the exemption of Filipino workers from paying FICA tax, why is no one speaking out about the fact that thousands of Chinese, Bangladeshis and other foreign worker do pay the tax and will never see a penny in social security retirement benefits?

I would guess that many of the CNMI employers who protested the tax were more concerned with their own wallets rather than the injustice to their Filipino employees. Employers have to kick in the employer's share of the the FICA tax.

No CW or temporary guest worker that does not have a green card in his or her future or a pathway to citizenship, should be paying social security tax. To be eligible to collect Social Security retirement benefits, a worker would have to acquire 40 quarters or work for ten years in the U.S. This is not likely since under the new federal system, just as in the former CNMI immigration system, CW workers are regarded as disposable commodities and not as future citizens. There was no provision in the CNRA for status and is no law on the books now.

DPS Failure
As CNMI rapes, murders, brutal assaults and burglaries remain unsolved or ignored, Governor Fitial refuses to nominate a qualified commissioner for the Department of Public Safety. Instead he juggles his acting commissioner appointments between the two Ogumoro brothers, Ambrosio and Aniceto. Both have criminal records. Both are more concerned with carrying out the governor's corrupt schemes then in ensuring public safety.

Why isn't the US Department of Justice investigating this federally funded thug squad? Why aren't more foreign governments protesting? The most recent unsolved brutal rapes, murders and assaults have been committed against foreigners.


Anonymous said...

In regards SSA payments, I would like to know how many that have been in the CNMI for more than ten years and have been paying into this.
Also if in fact these employers have even been following the law and paying into the fund.
These people should be able to collect when they reach the appropriate age, even in their own country.
Also if any of them gotten permanently disabled, no matter from what source(as there have been many over the years)they are eligible to collect disability if they have paid into this for 5 years.
In many cases this also applies to their children born in the CNMI.
I do not know in what countries SSA will not pay as there are only certain banks that the US Govt will deal with.
That is why it is difficult to collect if one retires in Thailand for example.(but there is a way)
How many of the Phil. workers would have SSA now if they had been paying into it from the time they started working in the CNMI?
With their low wages they might have been able to retire back in the Phil. with at least around $500 US a month (about $22k PhP)
That is better than anything they would be able to get in their own country and is more than many working daily.

On DPS, It is with great interest so many are watching this January to see if Fitial will be impeached.
If so, hopefully many areas will be cleaned out by Inos.
Since Inos already has fired one of the Ogumoro brothers twice in Fitial's absence I am quite confident that they may be one of his first Acts as Gov.
I do not trust Inos and think he would not be elected if he was to run as Gov. but we all do not know just how he would handle the job at this point.
Since this election has shown the people are much fed up, there is a possibility that many of the elected may have gotten the message along with the people go keep up the accountability of the elected.
Lets hope so. We shall soon find out, hopefully.

Anonymous said...

Chinese workers collecting SS in China? LOL! Well it would make sense. We borrow money from China to pay out social security and other entitlements. If I were a Chinese I would demand that money - it's theirs!

It's not your money! said...

In fact, many Chinese workers and those from other countries can and do collect their SS benefits in their home countries after they reach the age of retirement. Also, if a worker dies, or become disabled, he and his family are eligible for SS benefits even if the worker did not do his 40 quarters. And whether the employer made its contribution is irrelevant, since SS will pay benefits to workers who can show they completed their 40 quarters, even if the employer did not pay.

Wendy Doromal said...

It's not your money -Happy holidays!

I would be astonished (and really pleased) if former CNMI Chinese garment workers, many who never even collected the wages that they were owed before returning to China, were being paid social security benefits. How can I find out how many former Chinese garment workers who were employed in the CNMI for 40 quarters or more are actually collecting social security retirements benefits today? How does one access these statistics?

When I asked a congressional staffer in 2008 about SS benefits, we received this reply from an SS official: "I've checked with our Soc Sec guy and the answer is that you need to be a U.S. citizen, or on track to become one, in order to be a Social Security beneficiary."

Here is information from the social security web site: "Nonresident aliens, in general, are also liable for Social Security/Medicare Taxes on wages paid to them for services performed by them in the United States, with certain exceptions based on their non-immigrant status."