Of 18 nurses affected by CW cap, only 4 will remain on island

COMMONWEALTH Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said of the 18 nurses affected by the CW cap, only four decided to remain on island to avail themselves of the 240-day extension.

Three of the 18 nurses left Saipan on June 30 and 11 more will leave today, July 6.

Muna said the nurses who decided to leave are worried about U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ failure to issur receipts that validate the 240-day extension.

She said she told the nurses that USCIS Honolulu District Director David G. Gulick has confirmed that the courier receipt is acceptable. The courier receipt refers to the CW extension applications sent by CHCC to USCIS through FedEx.

Aside from this assurance, Muna said the Legislature also offered to introduce and adopt a resolution that the nurses can show when they go to the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

Muna said the resolution will state that the affected nurses are needed by the local community and that the CNMI wants them to stay.

In addition, CHCC will be providing the nurses USCIS Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Following the decision of the 11 nurses to leave the island, Muna said they bought their plane tickets. The nurses will be leaving today, Thursday.

“They are afraid to stay because some their fellow countrymen are scaring them — saying they will be arrested by USCIS or that they will be banned from re-entry if they stay,” Muna said.

“But their decision to leave will not be held against them. It is an individual decision that only they can make. While we tried to assist them, we cannot stop others from telling them to leave,” Muna said.

CHCC will now try to hire traveling nurses who will be on island next week, she added.

In order to avoid the same predicament again in the years to come, Muna said they will also get EB or other applicable visas for their nonresident workers.

“We announced in October last year that our nurses would be capped out. The solution given by our CNMI leaders was H.R. 339, the bill that would increase the CW cap in this fiscal year. But it is July already and HR 339 is still pending in the U.S. Senate. We all know that the nurses’ presence here in the CNMI is critical. We will be changing the status of our nurses, and I hope our leaders will continue to support us by providing the needed funding through appropriation.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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