27 November 2009
America takes over Northern Mariana’s immigration
On Saturday, America will take over control of the Northern Mariana Islands’ immigration in a move that will give greater security to the region against terror.
The Federalisation means that American immigration rules will now apply to the island and the administration of the system will be taken over by the US Department of Homeland Security.
Under American immigration rules visitors from most countries will have to obtain an American visa to enter the Northern Marianas, although visitors from key markets such as Japan, South Korea, China and Russia, will be exempt.
The Northern Marianas’ economy is reliant on tourism, particularly as the garment manufacturing industry has slowed in recent years.
In the territory of about 89,000 people almost half of jobs are filled by foreign workers, particularly from the Philippines and China, and under transition rules foreign workers will be able to stay in the Northern Marianas until 2014, when they will have to obtain an American Visa.
Thousands of foreign workers, mainly Chinese, used to work in garment manufacturing factories in the territory but due to increasing competition from cheaper manufacturers most of the factories have closed.
The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in American visa and immigration services.