22 Jun 2012

CNMI government calls for extension on federalisation

10:16 am on 22 June 2012

The CNMI government and the business sector want an extension on the federalisation transition, which is set to expire in 2014, saying the Commonwealth still needs foreign workers.

Also known as the Consolidated Natural Resources Act, the law provides for a federalization transition period not to go past 2014, where all guest workers in the CNMI are set to be eliminated.

Foreign workers not only hold jobs in the private sector, but non-residents staff the only public hospital in the Commonwealth.

The Governor Benigno Fitial says he will ask the US Department of Labor and US Congress for a five-year extension on the transition period.

He says the CNMI still lacks local workers to cover the positions currently filled by foreign workers, and the federal government has been slow in processing most of the Commonwealth-only worker petitions.

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce says it strongly recommends another five-year transitional period because failure to do so will lead to the ruination of not just an economy, but will jeopardize the health, safety and welfare of all CNMI residents.