USCIS Finalizes Rule Allowing Grace Period for CW-1 Permit Renewals

January 2016

USCIS published the final rule that allows the CNMI's  CW-1 nonresident workers to continue working during a 240-day grace period as long as the application for the new permit was submitted before the old one expired.

Under current regulations the nonresident workers, who make up a majority of the CNMI's private sector workforce, must stop working the day their CW-1 permits expires. The law has had a devastating effect on businesses, employees and the economy with USCIS taking months to process the routine renewals applications.

The rule was proposed on May 12, 2014, but was not signed and posted in the Federal Register until January 15, 2016. According to the Federal Registry,  the final rule goes into effect on February 16, 2016. From the final rule:
In this final rule, DHS also amends its regulations to authorize continued employment for up to 240 days for H-1B1, principal E-3, and CW-1 nonimmigrant workers whose status has expired, provided that the petitioner timely filed the requests for extensions of stay with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Such amendment will minimize the potential for employment disruptions for U.S. employers of H-1B1, principal E-3, and CW-1 nonimmigrant workers.
Congressman Gregorio C. Sablan has been urging USCIS to clear the backlog of unprocessed CW-1 permits for months. Over 2,800 permits had been back-logged since last year.  Last week Congressman Sablan visited the USCIS California Office where the CNMI's permits are processed to urge the clearing of the backlog.

The rule is another welcome band aid for a broken immigration system. The most sensible permanent fix that would help to solve the CNMI's skilled worker shortage would be to grant all legal long-term nonresident workers permanent residency status with a pathway to citizenship.


Anonymous said...

Stereotype, isn't it? Island-style! That's how they wanted it, at least CNMI is getting smarter now to realize that the devastating effect is on their economy.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of US Citizens need work and the Federal government does not owe the CWs ANYTHING.

Anonymous said...

Band-aid solution indeed! Even if it is more than 240 days same problems and hardship will occur next year. Why six-month-before-expiration is not even enough? Let's see how this Best Sunshine deal with this. They bring tourists to work! CNMI losts income taxes from tourist workers. Illegal workers should I say. CNMI people, this is how you wanted it, right? CNMI prefers this CW program than to grant all legal long-term workers permanent residency.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:26 AM

Yes, indeed! Plenty of US citizens need work AND THERE'S A LOT OF JOBS FOR THEM HERE ON CNMI! TAKE THEM ALL! Did you ever ask yourself why no USCit wants these jobs that CWs hold? You have ALL the rights to replace them! Why are they still here? CWs are here because YOU NEED THEM!!! CWs DO NOT OWE YOU ANYTHING EITHER. You owe them respect and to treat them fairly as human beings.

Anonymous said...

Laid-off IT workers muzzled as H-1B debate heats up

Take a look at what foreign workers are doing to this country and read the comments posted on this linked page above.

Captain said...

Anon Jan.28,8:45 pm,
Your link is very interesting,I need to look deeper, but, This is apparent from before at the initial CW program in the NMI.

In the problem with the NMI, local workers do not want to work.
On another area, if my understanding is correct, "H1" workers are only limited to 3 years as this is one reason why local employers do not want to go this route.

A big problem is the CW that have been here in the NMI for so long. There should be another alternative to make them local residents with all of the local amenities. (to include voting)

Anyway,the CNMI is and will be a lost cause until, maybe one day we will have some new educated, "unconnected" "new faces" to run.

So many of us are too old to run and also not of the corrupt "elite" families. Our educated younger generation do not have a chance against trhwse carrer political families if they return.

Anonymous said...


Please watch this video.

Please ask yourself what side your loyalty is on. You live in Florida, how long before you become a stranger in your own land? Take a look around. It won't be too long before you will become the minority in Florida. Redeem yourself and stand up for American rights. Enough is enough.

Wendy Doromal said...

3:55 AM

I am on the side of justice. You cannot compare what happened in the video (high-level Disney worker being displaced) with what is happening in the CNMI. That worker lost his job because a self-serving company wanted to make more money. Disgusting, considering Disney pays their employees wages that are so low that many qualify for food stamps.Disney does not even pay a living wage. That is plain greed.

In the CNMI there are not enough skilled people to fill all of the jobs, Additionally, some of the foreign workers have lived and worked there so long that they they are de facto citizens. A big difference.