22 August 2008

Pacific Islanders to work in Iowa, US

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An Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Iowa, United States, will be looking to the Pacific Islands to resource workers, reports the Des Moines Register.

Palau, one of the world’s youngest and smallest nations, has told the Postville plant that it has hundreds of citizens willing to relocate to Iowa to work in the factory. 

The Palau recruiter, Webster Franz, has said most of the workers are fisherman or farmers but are looking for overseas work to earn more money. 

As Palau is a nation, along with other Pacific nations, that used to be under the United States’ jurisdiction, nationals from the island are allowed to work indefinitely in the United States without needing an American work visa.

According to the Des Moines Register, the plant was raided in May after a tip-off that illegal immigrants were working there.  400 illegal immigrants were found to be working at the plant and the business is still trying to recover.

"Unlike other alien workers, undocumented and illegal, Palauan workers are eligible to live and work in the United States.  Hence, if they are not being compensated or have unsafe working conditions, they have the freedom to leave that employment and move elsewhere, to avoid enslavement," Franz’s wife, Imelda Nakamura told the news provider.

The recruiter is currently holding discussions with the plant to secure migration support for 60 Palauans to move to Iowa, including paying for the plane tickets. 

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in American visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, American Visa Bureau.

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