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CHCC seeks tourist visas for 19 healthcare workers

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SO they can remain in the CNMI while the extension of their CW-1 permits go through the required lengthy process, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. is exploring the possibility of seeking tourist visas for 19 of its nonresident healthcare workers.

Their Temporary Labor Certifications have been denied recently by the U.S. Department of Labor.

In an interview, CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said these healthcare workers —  13 licensed practical nurses on Saipan, four LPNs assigned to the Tinian Health Center and a radiologic technologist employed by the Rota Health Center — can stay in the CNMI for six months if they are granted a tourist visa.

Muna said CHCC is now working with a law firm on Guam “to process this request.”

She said the healthcare personnel cannot work at CHCC  on a tourist visa.

“They are concerned about what is happening in their hometowns [in the Philippines],  and they want to be here with their families while their work permits are processed,” she added.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines had reported a total of 286,743 Covid-19 cases, with over 3,000 new cases reported every day since Sept. 8.

The healthcare workers’ CW-1 permits expired on Sept. 15. They have until Sept. 25 to exit the CNMI.

“If they leave, they are leaving their families behind and they may not be able to return to the CNMI for a long time,” Muna said.

She noted that the Covid-19 pandemic is creating a backlog in the processing of visas at the U.S. embassy in Manila.

CHCC has applied for a more permanent status for its nonresident healthcare workers, but the process is “taking so long,” she said.

CHCC, she added,  “needs more staff now in a pandemic.”

Earlier, CHCC announced that it is hiring 27 registered nurses this month — 12 of them are from  Northern Marianas College, seven are from South Korea and eight are from the Philippines.

 

 

 

 

 

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