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Saipan Tribune - Saipan lawmakers are expected to pre-file today a bill that will allow long-time foreign workers to stay for five-year periods in the Commonwealth whether they have jobs or not.
The unsigned bill, a copy of which was obtained by the Saipan Tribune last night, proposes to create a new immigration category of “resident foreign nationals.”
A foreign worker may apply for a resident foreign national entry permit if he or she has lived legally in the CNMI for at least five years and has met character requirements.
A resident foreign national entry permit is valid for five years and may be renewed.
The bill does not offer permanent residency, resident status, citizenship, or nationality to a resident foreign national.
However, people granted this new immigration status would be able to live and work at will in the Northern Marianas in the same manner as a permanent resident. They would receive employment preference over other foreign workers. They may operate a business, be self-employed, and employ other foreign workers.
Immediate family members of resident foreign national may enter and remain in the CNMI for the period of the permit of the resident foreign national.
Resident foreign nationals and any immediate family members admitted to the CNMI under this immigration category are, however, still considered aliens and may still be subjected to deportation.
Representatives Tina Sablan, Heinz Hofschneider, Edward Salas and Victor Hocog will cosponsor the bill.