The House of Representatives in the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas says a labour reform bill it has just passed is intended to encourage more local employment.
The bill was passed unanimously by a 15 to 0 vote.
The governor's press secretary, Charles Reyes, says all businesses will be required to hire at least thirty percent of their staff locally, as opposed to the current twenty percent.
Mr Reyes says the unemployment rate among locals is very high and the government must encourage a change in the workforce.
"The whole intent behind this labour reform legislation is to maximise local employment. Right now we are in a pretty severe economic slump and we feel that it is imperative that we take on necessary measures to improve the employment prospects of our local residents."
Charles Reyes says the government is aware that some business sectors are opposed to the move, but he says they must understand it is necessary.