CNMI gov’t, biz leaders slam U.S. ban on Filipino workers
Government and business leaders of Northern Marianas say CNMI’s economy will suffer because of the U.S. ban on some Filipino worker visas.
Many Filipino construction workers in the CNMI come under the H-2B visa program, which the U.S. is suspending for Filipinos due to overstaying and human trafficking concerns.
Governor Ralph Torres said the decision would hit the US territory hard because of its islands’ limited labor pool and remote location. The Philippines has been the U.S. territory’s primary source of labor for decades, he said.
Torres has asked CNMI delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan to use his position in the U.S. House of Representatives majority to safeguard the CNMI economy and businesses, according to a report by RadioNZ.
Lieutenant Governor Arnold Palacios said the ban was ill timed considering the CNMI is still rebuilding following the destruction of Super Typhoon Yutu in October and Typhoon Mangkhut in September. Velma Palacios, president of Saipan’s Chamber of Commerce, echoed Palacios’ observation.
The CNMI was already in dire need of construction workers because of massive building projects for companies including Imperial Pacific International, Honest Profit and American Sinopan LLC.