Marianas Guest Worker Advocate Calls On Feds For Support

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

CNMI needs appropriate workforce for self-sustaining economy

By Junhan B. Todiño

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 21, 2016) – If the federal government wants the CNMI to have a more self-sustaining economy, it should help the islands obtain the workforce it needs, guest workers advocate Irene Tantiado said.

She welcomes the new 240-day grace period for the federal CW program, which ends on Dec. 31, 2019, but added, "We need a permanent solution for sustainable economic progress."

Tantiado said the delay in the processing of CW permit renewals that were filed on time adversely affected many businesses and individuals.

"They have contributed to the economy for a long time, so it is very sad that they have to stop working even though their employers submitted the renewal applications before the deadline," she added.

She said granting permanent status to qualified long-term guest workers will provide stability to the CNMI economy, benefiting everyone.

"It’s not a popular idea," she added. "But some people are day-dreaming when they say the CNMI can succeed without guest workers who have already proven that they will stay here to continue to help build the economy alongside the local people."

Tantiado said the small local population still cannot fill the demand for certain jobs needed by a recovering economy.

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