Thousands Still Waiting for CW-1 Permits

Under the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services created a new transitional work visa solely for residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. However, 37 percent of the 12,428 workers who petitioned for a visa last year still have not received them, according to the Saipan Tribune.

Residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who have applied for the program are concerned that they will have to apply for an extension of their parole in place because USCIS will not offer an automatic extension for pending CW petitions.

“Without automatic parole extension, everyone with expired or expiring parole have to go over the extension process again when it is not them that caused the delays in the first place,” Carlito Marquez, a CNMI citizen, told the source. “If the December 28 deadline is not met again, USCIS will again require them to extend; why not just automatically extend their parole since it’s not their fault that their CW petitions have not been granted yet?”

As of October 23, USCIS had granted the CW-1 permits to approximately 7,800 workers, but many others with pending petitions were subjected to a “request for evidence” and are still waiting for responses from their employers. More than 300 petitions have also been denied for various reasons, including an employer withdrawal or abandonment, absence of evidence that the employer meets visa eligibility requirements or insufficient evidence that the beneficiary was in the CNMI when the petition was filed, according to the source.

USCIS hopes to adjudicate all existing petitions by December 28, 2012.

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