Imperial Pacific Asks U.S Government To Raise Migrant Worker Visa Cap

Imperial Pacific Asks U.S Government To Raise Migrant Worker Visa Cap September 13, 2016 September 13, 2016 Paul Butcher
 General September 13, 2016 by Paul Butcher

imperial pacificImperial Pacific International Holdings which operates the Best Sunshine Live casino resort in Saipan is asking the United States government to ease the limits placed on visas for foreign workers.

The Saipan island is a part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) which is under the jurisdiction of the United States.

The Hong Kong based Imperial Pacific and its subsidiary Best Sunshine International employ several thousands of overseas workers for its operations. A large number of these workers are Filipinos who have been working in Saipan for a number of years and due to the visa cap, could soon be forced to return to the Philippines. Many of them have no homes to return to since they gave up their houses and moved to Saipan. Imperial Pacific will hire more overseas workers in the coming months and is wants the visa cap to be lifted.

In a statement, Mark A. Brown, chief executive of Imperial Pacific said

There is a cap of 12,999 workers for the transitional commonwealth-only worker-1 (or CW-1) program. We are dealing with the US federal government, trying to get that lifted to 20,000. We have 3,000 employees for our first building and we are going to have as many as 15,000 employees in future

Brown stated that workers from Philippines were far more experienced in the Macau-style functioning of VIP gaming than workers from Las Vegas. Last year, the US government had slashed the visa cap for 2016 for the CW-1 program in the CNMI by 1,000 reducing it to 12,999 overseas workers. That ceiling was met in May itself.

According to the law, the number of non-immigrant workers under the CW-1 program will be cut yearly till it reaches zero by 2019. Companies and workers in Saipan have been urging the government to extend the program beyond 2019 and increase the cap. Imperial Pacific has currently employed around 3,000 employees for its casino operations and around 2,000 construction workers.

Best Sunshine won the island’s casino license in 2014, promising to build a US$7.1 billion casino and hotel complex. The under-construction first phase of Imperial Pacific Resort will have 450 slot machines and 250 gaming tables. The company has been operating a temporary casino from July 2015 and plans to open its full fledged casino in January 2017. Before the full casino is opened to the public, more employees will need to be hired and trained and a large number of these will be overseas workers.

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