14 Apr 2008

Saipan business people search for stability amid moves to federalise immigration rules

3:34 pm on 14 April 2008

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce is hopeful that regulations will address local business concerns about the federalization of immigration in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

The Chamber president, Jim Arenovski, said although they were disappointed the US Senate had passed Bill 2739, they hope to be involved in discussions aimed at addressing worries and clarifying some areas.

He said top of the Chamber's agenda is to ensure the regulations offer potential investors and existing businesses a greater sense of stability than is currently provided for in the bill.

Mr Arenovski says the Chamber will seek to ensure that local businesses have access to qualified workers into the future.

This concern comes in light of the immigration bill's stated intent of reducing the nonresident worker pool.

There are also worries a federalised system will give rise to uncertainties in the Chinese and Russian tourist markets.

Under federal control, tourists from these countries will be required to apply for visas at U.S. embassies imposing travel time and tighter restrictions on potential visitors.