THE U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announcement that it will reject CW-1 petitions received after May 5, 2016 is a serious concern for the tourism industry, Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Christopher Concepcion said. “This situation will directly affect the tourism industry and MVA is very concerned,” he added. “The tourism industry is very labor intensive so the fact that we’ve reached the CW cap sooner than expected is unfortunate. We will work with our partners in the private and public sectors, including Governor Torres and U.S. Congressman Sablan, to find the best way forward to limit the impact on CNMI economic activities.” Concepcion said they remain “hopeful that the U.S. government will be mindful of its duty to prevent economic upheaval when implementing the federalization of immigration in the CNMI.” In a separate interview, Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said their human resources department is currently reviewing the USCIS announcement “to determine the impact on our CW workforce and the services CHCC provides to the community.” Muna said two of their staff may be affected and their CW applications may be rejected. “I agree with other employers. If there was an earlier warning [from USCIS], we could have avoided this situation and planned our staffing better. Now we have to pay overtime to cover those affected,” she added.

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