Fiscal Year 2015 Limit Set for CNMI-Only Transitional Workers

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DHS will allow 13,999 CW-1 nonimmigrants for FY 2015

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will allow up to 13,999 nonimmigrants for fiscal year (FY) 2015 for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) program. DHS published the notice in today’s Federal Register.

Under the CW-1 program, employers in the CNMI can apply for temporary permission to employ foreign nationals who are ineligible for any existing employment-based nonimmigrant category under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The CW program is in effect until Dec. 31, 2019. DHS set the CW-1 limit for FY 2015 at 13,999 – a reduction of one from the FY 2014 limit of 14,000 – to meet the CNMI’s existing labor market needs and provide opportunity for potential growth, while meeting a regulatory requirement to reduce the numerical limit each year.

Today’s announcement does not affect the status of current CW-1 workers unless their employer files for an extension of their current authorized period of stay.  Approved petitions with an employment-start date in FY 2015 (between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015) will count towards the 13,999 limit. The numerical limit applies only to CW-1 principals. It does not directly affect persons currently holding CW-2 status, which is for spouses and minor children of CW-1 nonimmigrants. However, CW-2 nonimmigrants may be indirectly affected because their status depends upon that of the principal CW-1.

For more information and announcements about immigration benefits in the CNMI, please visit our CNMI Web page at

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