Skip to page content
United States Department of Labor
Bookmark and Share

News Release

OASP News Release: [06/03/2014]
Contact Name: Josť A. Carnevali
Phone Number: (415) 625-2631
Release Number: 14-0981-SAN

US Secretary of Labor extends transitional worker program in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

WASHINGTON — In 2008, Congress passed the Consolidated Natural Resources Act, which applies the immigration laws of the United States to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. To minimize potential adverse economic effects, the CNRA provides for a five-year transitional worker program, known as the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker — or CW-1 — program, which ends on Dec. 31, 2014. However, the CNRA authorizes the secretary of labor to extend this transition period for up to five years based on the labor needs of the CNMI to ensure that an adequate number of workers are available for legitimate businesses.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today made the determination to extend the CW-1 program until Dec. 31, 2019, based on his consideration of a series of eight factors stipulated by the CNRA.

The CNRA required the secretary of labor, in consultation with the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and the Interior, along with the governor of the CNMI, to ascertain the current and anticipated labor needs of the CNMI before determining whether to extend the program. Following today's determination, the department will continue to monitor and assess the labor needs of the CNMI, in particular any good faith efforts to locate, educate, train or otherwise prepare U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and unemployed foreign workers already in the CNMI to assume jobs in legitimate businesses.

CNMI employers have a continuing obligation to ensure and protect workers' rights by adhering to and complying with applicable federal civil rights, labor and workplace safety laws.

For more information on the secretary of labor's determination, please visit the Federal Register Notice of the transition period extension. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provided extensions of status and grants of new CW-1 status only until Dec. 31, 2014, the previous sunset date of the program. If the petition is otherwise eligible, USCIS will resume approving CW-1 status in increments of up to one year.