The number of alien workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas is expected to drop by about a quarter to 15,000 next year, as more businesses shut down their operations.
The majority of foreigners are employed in the garment industry.
Governor Benigno Fitial told the US House Committee on Natural Resources that the number of foreign workers is expected to drop as the remaining garment factories exit the Commonwealth because of the change in World Trade rules and the increased minimum wage.
Statistics from the Department of Labour shows there were nearly 21 thousand documented foreign workers on the islands as of September 30.
During the 1990s, the Commonwealth hosted more than 30 thousand alien workers.