CNMI, CHINA TO SIGN NEW IMMIGRATION AGREEMENT

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 29) - The CNMI will sign a
new memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Economic Development
Association of China’s Ministry of Commerce to address key labor and
immigration issues involving China’s 12,000 workers in the commonwealth, the
administration said.

Gov. Juan N. Babauta wants more restrictions to combat illegal
entry and recruitment as well as prostitution, according to Press Secretary Pete
Callaghan.

He said Wang Pei Wen, the newly elected president of CEDA for
the CNMI, met with Babauta yesterday to discuss the 1997 memorandum of
understanding signed by the local Department of Labor and Immigration and the
association.

A visiting Chinese envoy said earlier this year that there were
about 10,000 Chinese nationals "illegally" working in the CNMI because
they did not go through CEDA’s employment screening processes.

This is a violation of the 1997 MOU, the envoy said.

"That is true," Callaghan said. "There was a
violation, but it is nobody’s fault."

The proposed new agreement will also bolster the CNMI’s
request to earn an approved destination status from Beijing, he said.

Callaghan said Babauta and Wang "agreed to sign a new MOU
that would spell out the lapses of the 1997 MOU."

CEDA wants to ensure that Chinese nationals that will work in
the CNMI have gone through "proper agencies" in China, Callaghan said.

"We asked for their support in helping us get rid of
illegal workers or unqualified workers," Callaghan said.

Babauta wants the CNMI to have the authority to deport Chinese
workers who are into prostitution, Callaghan said. "This will help curb
prostitution here," he added.

"If a Chinese worker comes here and moonlights or changes
her occupation, we do not have to go through a long court battle — we can just
automatically deport her," he said.

May 29, 2003

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com 

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