30 Jun 2017
- By Lori Lyn C. Lirio – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
COMMONWEALTH Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said not all of the foreign nurses at the hospital are eligible for an H1-B visa so they are now looking at EB visas as an option to ensure that CHCC has the workforce it needs.
She said CHCC has already applied for H1-B visas for six employees, including a pharmacy manager, a physical therapist, an infection control manager, a utilization review coordinator and an epidemiologist.
Since January, Muna said, CHCC has started processing the filing of EB2 visa applications for 15 of their employees.
She said they intend to do the same for the rest of 170 nurses and staff who are on CW-1 permits.
Muna said for the EB2 visa applications of 15 nurses and physical therapists, CHCC is spending about $35,000.
“But again this process is taking a lot of time because of the prevailing wage issue. The prevailing wage determination has to be made by the CNMI and a request has to be sent to the U.S. Department of Labor,” Muna said.
“We will put the money aside specifically for this venture because we are not going to take a risk again in the following year,” she said, referring to the CW cap.
She said the hospital may have to spend half a million dollars to process the EB visa applications of its nurses and staff.
In related news, Muna said 13 of the 18 nurses affected by the CW cap decided to remain on island for another week. They were all supposed to leave on or before July 1.
Muna said she is still trying to get a response from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regarding receipts for the extension fees.
Muna said if they get the receipts, the nurses can remain here for another 240 days while their CW renewals are being processed.
“So I asked them to stay for a week to confirm the receipts. I think we’ve done everything we can. But we cannot hold onto them much longer.”
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/96512-chcc-to-seek-eb-visas-for-over-100-employees