New CW1 Rule Implementing the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act

Alexander J. Segal's picture


On May 14, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an interim final rule implementing the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018 [PDF version]. You may read the new rule here [PDF version]. The rule affects the CW-1, CNMI-Only Transitional Worker nonimmigrant visa category. As its name indicates, the CW1 category is available only for the purpose of employing certain nonimmigrants in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The interim final rule takes effect on June 18, 2020.

Key Points in the Interim Final Rule

The USCIS lists several of the interim final rules key changes to the CW1 program. We will briefly outline them below.

All CW1 employers will be required to enroll in E-Verify.
CW1 employers will file a semiannual report to verify the continuing employment and payment of each CW1 worker under the terms and conditions set forth in the corresponding CW1 petition. These reports will be filed on the new Form I-129CWR, Semiannual Report for CW-1 Employers.
The CW1 semiannual report will be required for all CW1 petitions approved by the USCIS with employment start-dates in FY-2020 for a validity period of six months or more. The rule, however, takes effect on June 18, 2020, after the sixth month of FY 2020. For this reason, the USCIS is offering petitioners who will be required to file the semiannual report a one-time additional 60-day period to come into compliance. Employers with petitions approved with start dates from October 1, 2019, through December 18, 2019, will have until August 17, 2020, to file the Form I-129CWR.
Going forward, CW1 petitions will have to be filed with an approved temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
The rule establishes minimum wage requirements for CW1 employers.
The rule establishes new procedures for revoking approved CW1 petitions based on the revocation grounds for other nonimmigrants.
The rule incorporates the definition of a “legitimate business” from the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act.

As provided by the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act., the USCIS will consider comments from the public in crafting a final rule. The public comment period runs through July 13, 2020. Those submitting comments on the form, form instructions, and information collection revisions in the interim final rule must submit comments before June 13, 2020.

We will update the website with more information about the forthcoming final rule when it becomes available.

New CW1 Rule Implementing the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act