IPI hires workers from Mongolia, Thailand

CASINO: Imperial Pacific International officials open the first large-scale casino on Saipan in July 2017. Post file photo

SAIPAN – Imperial Pacific International has hired construction workers from Mongolia and Thailand.

In a progress report presented to the Commonwealth Casino Commission on Wednesday, IPI vice president for construction Eric Poon said IPI is still waiting for the appointment date at the U.S. Embassy for the visa applications of the Thai H-2B workers, but the H-2B visa process for the Mongolian workers is already in progress, adding that IPI expects these workers to report for duty this month.

He said there are 374 H-2B workers and 212 subcontractor workers who are currently at IPI's construction site in Garapan.

Poon said the construction of the hotel's main lobby with the revolving door has been completed, while the stone floor polishing and crystallization is still in progress. The cladding of the hotel tower's facade is now being installed, he added.

Also in progress is the completion of the VIP gaming rooms and the marble stone installations at the East Wing suites, Poon said.

Bertha Guerrero of IPI's human resources department told the casino commission that IPI now has more U.S. workers than CWs.

The CW-1 visa classification allows employers in the CNMI to apply for permission to employ foreign workers who are otherwise ineligible to work under other nonimmigrant worker categories, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Guerrero said IPI's workforce includes 304 U.S. citizens, 375 with H-2B visas, 284 CWs, 92 permanent residents, 26 with employment authorization documents, 13 freely associated states citizens and six H-1B visa holders.