Worker groups in the Northern Marianas are opposed to any extension of the transition period on immigration status to long-term foreign workers.
Washington wants to extend the transition beyond the end of 2014, but the workers say granting improved status now would be more humane, and a more effective way of stabilising the tourism-based CNMI workforce and economy.
The president of the Dekada Movement, Bonifacio Sagana, says extending the transition period will not only prolong the suffering and agony for many foreign workers but also result in the continued destabilisation of the workforce.
The president of the United Workers Movement-NMI, Rabby Syed, says it is not a good argument for the CNMI government to say the transition is needed because it has not been able to train the local workforce to cover the work done by the skilled foreign workers.
Both men says a 5 year extension will still be not enough for the resident workers to be educated and trained to take over the positions currently filled by the close to 12,000 foreign workers affected by the transitional Commonwealth-only worker permit.