Senate okays more CW permits

Aug 6, 2017

The Senate passed my bill making 350 more CW foreign worker permits available for fiscal year 2017 on top of the existing 12,998 permits. H.R. 339 also puts more money into the fund for training U.S. workers for jobs in the Marianas economy and bars future use of CW permits for temporary construction workers. The surge of construction workers using CW permits (3,443 in FY16) forced hospital nurses to leave the Marianas and many local businesses to lose their long-time foreign workers. My bill prevents that from repeating. And an unlimited number of workers for construction projects can be hired using the H2B visa.

Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) amended the bill, setting the number of extra permits at 350 and setting aside at least 60 for healthcare workers and at least 10 for power plant operators — two occupations critical to public safety in the Marianas. Getting more CW permits and setting aside some for the most important jobs were policies that the Commonwealth government and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation asked for. Also important is adding more money to the $9.9 million the Commonwealth has already received to train local workers. According to the Government Accountability Office, between 2010, when the CW program went into effect, and 2015, 1,182 U.S. workers joined the Marianas labor force. Because the bill was amended, the House must now approve it again before it goes to the President for signature into law.