Non-Immigrants with CW Cannot Apply for Parole

The deputy press secretary of USCIS, Marie Thérèse Sebrechts, clarified that the individuals who have been granted CW or some other non-immigrant status, cannot apply for parole. CW refers to “Commonwealth-only worker” status and this status will expire on 31st December 2014.

There is a lot of confusion about parole in the community and this announcement is likely to clear the confusion, according to the Saipan Tribune. Non-immigrants who work in the CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) are now asking the USCIS if they could apply for parole as their contracts and CNMI permits have not been renewed by their employers. Applications filed by many such workers for parole were denied by the USCIS and they are ineligible to apply for parole. Likewise, people wrongly believe that employers in the CNMI prefer employees with employment authorization documents or parole and not the employees for whom they need to apply for CW.

According to Sebrechts, a non-immigrant can work in the United States if his immigration status gives him the right to work in the country. That is because only the people who hold certain types of non-immigrant visas will be permitted to work in the country. She also stated that non-immigrants cannot get employment authorization documents just by applying for parole. USCIS earlier allowed non-immigrants whose non-immigrant visa applications such as H-1B visa applications were pending, in the CNMI to get work permits.

If the transitional program, the CW program is not extended by the US Secretary of Labor, beyond 2014, the CNMI will lose more than 12,000 skilled foreign workers on whom the local tourism-based economy relies upon. This would harm the local economy. That is because there are not enough US citizens to take up the jobs of these non-immigrants. Moreover, it is uncertain whether the immigration reform bill would include benefits for the legal workers in the CNMI.