Why temporary labor certifications?

Sep 3, 2019
Why temporary labor certifications?

In multiple listening sessions in 2017, as I prepared to write the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act, constituents told me they were being pushed out of jobs by foreign workers. So, I included in the law a new requirement for Marianas businesses that want to hire CW workers: businesses must first obtain a temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. This ensures a U.S. citizen, green card holder, or citizen of one of the Freely Associated States, who is able, willing, qualified, and available for a job in the Marianas, gets hired first—before a non-U.S. worker with a CW permit. Certification also ensures U.S. worker pay is not pulled down by cheaper foreign labor. Although new for CW applications, the temporary labor certification is already a requirement for H-2B and other foreign worker visas nationwide. The TLC requirement was part of the original U.S. Workforce Act legislation that I introduced in the House and Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced in the Senate last year. No objection was raised from the business community or the Commonwealth government. The U.S. Workforce Act increased the number of CW permits from 5,000 to 13,000 last year and extended the program until 2029.