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SAIPAN, Northern Marianas (March 24, 1998-Saipan Tribune/Benhur Saladores/ Ioane)---The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has become an attractive destination for foreigners seeking a better life for themselves and their families, reports the Saipan Tribune.

The newspaper says people from the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China have come to the Northern Marianas to work in construction, tourism, garment and security industries. Most of these people left their families behind and send them money on a regular basis.

One such worker, Ric Santos of the Philippines, works with a construction company.

Santos, 38, describes his life on Saipan –the Marianas’ capital-- as comfortable. He says although he misses his family back in the Philippines, he needs work so that he can assure them a good future.

Ahmed, a security guard from Bangladesh, expressed similar sentiments.

"We just want to support our families in Bangladesh. The money we earn here is not for us alone," the 29-year old explains. "We came here because our skills, even as security guards, are needed by the local businesses."

The Saipan Tribune reports that many in the private sector acknowledge the shortage of manpower to support the local economy, especially labor-intensive tourism and garment industries, which pump more than one billion dollars in income into the Northern Marianas each year.

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