Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 19 Sep 2019 12am







    Wednesday, September 18, 2019-6:04:24A.M.






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American Sinopan official: Denial of H2-B applications to affect other NMI investors

AMERICAN Sinopan LLC chief executive officer Ken T. Lin on Thursday said the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals’ decision to deny the resort builder’s 650 H-2B applications will also affect other legitimate developers on Saipan.

“We encourage all developers to fight for their rights,” Lin told Variety.

All legitimate developers and investors have a common goal to bring in more tourists and improve the local economy so the CNMI can continue providing critical public services to the local people, he added.

“We are saddened that the judge did not see what is missing on Saipan,” Lin said, referring to the island’s labor shortage.

American Sinopan started its clearing operation for its 1,200-hotel-room project in Tanapag in June 2018. The company has also developed residential homes for high-end clients in Chalan Savana on Capital Hill.

Lin said they wanted to finish the project on time in 2020 so they started hiring 700 workers on CW-1 permits, but then the federal government imposed a cap on CW-1 permits.

In October, he said American Sinopan held a job fair on Saipan, but they still don’t have enough workers for their hotel project.

According to Law360, “American Sinopan, a unit of Hong Kong-based First Sinopan International Ltd., requested 110 carpenters, 100 electricians, 90 masons, 80 painters, 65 structural iron and steel workers, 60 plumbers, 55 reinforcing iron and rebar workers, 30 construction supervisors and 30 construction equipment operators from April 15, 2019 to April 14, 2020.”

However, Administrative Law Judge Steven B. Berlin ruled that American Sinopan LLC, which was incorporated in 2016 in the Northern Mariana Islands, hadn’t properly proven that its need for the workers was temporary in nature because the application left out crucial information about its operations and its future plans after the resort is built. The decision affirms the denial of the company’s nine applications under the H-2B nonimmigrant alien worker program.

Lin said there may be some confusion in the category that they were applying for because the hotel is a “long-term” project.

He said they want to have an efficient workforce consisting of 600 to 1,000 employees.

“Our materials are ready for shipment, but without enough workers we cannot start,” Lin said.

He said they are hoping that the CNMI government can help address the island’s labor shortage.

With the denial of their H-2B applications, Lin said they have three options: the project will be implemented gradually over a longer period of time; they will closely work with the governor and the CNMI Labor secretary to find ways to get more workers; or they will try get U.S. workers from Guam or Hawaii where there is also a high demand for construction and other workers.