Only 14,000 Non-immigrants For CNMI-Only Transitional Workers(CW-1) Program, 2014

07 Oct 2013


Immigration News

The CNMI’s (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) program has a limit on the non-immigrants announced by the DHA (Department of Homeland Security). The limit is set as 14,000 non-immigrants for the FY (Fiscal Year) 2014.

Through the CW-1 program, the CNMI employers can apply for temporary authorization to employ foreign workers who are not eligible for any other existing employment-based non-immigrant category under the Act of Immigration and Nationality.

This program is in effect till 31st of December, 2014. During this time, the non-resident worker program of CNMI is being transitioned to the Federal Immigration System of the US. This period of transition was settled by the 2008’s CNRA (Consolidated Natural Resources Act), which, for the first time, extended most of the US Immigration law’s provisions to the CNMI.

By the end of the transition period, the CW non-immigrant classification will be eliminated. To provide an opportunity for CNMI’s potential growth and meet the existing labor market needs, while satisfying the CNRA requirement of reducing the numerical limit every year, DHS set the limit for CW-1 program at 14,000 for FY 2014. Unless extended by the US Secretary of Labor, the CW program will end on 31st December, 2014.

Unless an employer files for to extend their current employee’s authorized stay period or an employee attempts to change his/her CW-1 employer, this announcement will not affect the current CW-1 workers.

Petitions that are approved with a request of starting work-date between 1st October, 2013, and 30th September, 2014 in FY 2014 will be counted towards the limit of 14,000. The numerical limit applies to principals of CW-1 program only.

The limit does not directly affect people who are presently holding CW-2 status, which is for minor children and spouses of CW-1 non-immigrants. However, as their status depends on the principal CW-1 holder, the CW-2 non-immigrants may be affected indirectly.

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