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                                                       Calendar No. 354
                                                       
115th Congress   }                                          {  Report
                                  SENATE
 2d Session      ]                                          {  115-214

======================================================================



 
              NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS U.S. WORKFORCE ACT

                                _______
                                

                 March 20, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2325]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 2325) to incentivize the hiring of United 
States workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
Islands, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Northern Mariana Islands U.S. 
Workforce Act''.

SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this Act are--
          (1) to increase the percentage of United States workers (as 
        defined in section 6(i) of the Joint Resolution entitled ``A 
        Joint Resolution to approve the `Covenant To Establish a 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union 
        with the United States of America', and for other purposes'' 
        (48 U.S.C. 1806)) in the total workforce of the Commonwealth of 
        the Northern Mariana Islands, while maintaining the minimum 
        number of workers who are not United States workers to meet the 
        changing demands of the Northern Mariana Islands' economy;
          (2) to encourage the hiring of United States workers into 
        such workforce; and
          (3) to ensure that no United States worker--
                  (A) is at a competitive disadvantage for employment 
                compared to a worker who is not a United States worker; 
                or
                  (B) is displaced by a worker who is not a United 
                States worker.

SEC. 3. TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS.

        (a) In General.--Section 6 of the Joint Resolution entitled ``A 
        Joint Resolution to approve the `Covenant To Establish a 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union 
        with the United States of America', and for other purposes'' 
        (48 U.S.C. 1806) is amended--
          (1) in subsection (a)--
                  (A) in paragraph (2), by striking ``2019'' and 
                inserting ``2029''; and
                  (B) by amending paragraph (6) to read as follows:
          ``(6) Fees for training united states workers.--
                  ``(A) Supplemental fee.--
                          ``(i) In general.--In addition to fees 
                        imposed pursuant to section 286(m) of the 
                        Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
                        1356(m)) to recover the full costs of 
                        adjudication services, the Secretary shall 
                        impose an annual supplemental fee of $200 per 
                        nonimmigrant worker on each prospective 
                        employer who is issued a permit under 
                        subsection (d)(3) during the transition 
                        program. A prospective employer that is issued 
                        a permit with a validity period of longer than 
                        1 year shall pay the fee for each year of 
                        requested validity at the time the permit is 
                        issued.
                          ``(ii) Inflation adjustment.--Beginning in 
                        fiscal year 2020, the Secretary, through notice 
                        in the Federal Register, may annually adjust 
                        the supplemental fee imposed under clause (i) 
                        by a percentage equal to the annual change in 
                        the Consumer Price Index for All Urban 
                        Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor 
                        Statistics.
                          ``(iii) Use of funds.--Amounts collected 
                        pursuant to clause (i) shall be deposited into 
                        the Treasury of the Commonwealth Government for 
                        the sole and exclusive purpose of funding 
                        vocational education, apprenticeships, or other 
                        training programs for United States workers.
                          ``(iv) Fraud prevention and detection fee.--
                        In addition to the fees described in clause 
                        (i), the Secretary--
                                  ``(I) shall impose, on each 
                                prospective employer filing a petition 
                                under this subsection for 1 or more 
                                nonimmigrant workers, a $50 fraud 
                                prevention and detection fee; and
                                  ``(II) shall deposit and use the fees 
                                collected under subclause (I) in 
                                accordance with section 286(v)(2)(B) of 
                                the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
                                U.S.C. 1356(v)(2)(B)).
                  ``(B) Plan for the expenditure of funds.--Not later 
                than 120 days before the first day of fiscal year 2020, 
                and annually thereafter, the Governor of the 
                Commonwealth Government shall submit to the Secretary 
                of Labor--
                          ``(i) a plan for the expenditures of amounts 
                        deposited under subparagraph (A)(iii);
                          ``(ii) a projection of the effectiveness of 
                        such expenditures in the placement of United 
                        States workers into jobs held by non-United 
                        States workers; and
                          ``(iii) a report on the changes in employment 
                        of United States workers attributable to 
                        expenditures of such amounts during the 
                        previous year.
                  ``(C) Determination and report.--Not later than 120 
                days after receiving each expenditure plan under 
                subparagraph (B)(i), the Secretary of Labor shall--
                          ``(i) issue a determination on the plan; and
                          ``(ii) submit a report to Congress that 
                        describes the effectiveness of the Commonwealth 
                        Government at meeting the goals set forth in 
                        such plan.
                  ``(D) Payment restriction.--Payments may not be made 
                in a fiscal year from amounts deposited under 
                subparagraph (A)(iii) before the Secretary of Labor has 
                approved the expenditure plan submitted under 
                subparagraph (B)(i) for that fiscal year.'';
          (2) in subsection (b), by adding at the end the following:
          ``(3) Report.--Not later than December 1, 2027, the Secretary 
        shall submit a report to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
        Resources of the Senate, the Committee on the Judiciary of the 
        Senate, the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of 
        Representatives, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the 
        House of Representatives that--
                  ``(A) projects the number of asylum claims the 
                Secretary anticipates following the termination of the 
                transition period; and
                  ``(B) describes the efforts of the Secretary to 
                ensure appropriate interdiction efforts, provide for 
                appropriate treatment of asylum seekers, and prepare to 
                accept and adjudicate asylum claims in the 
                Commonwealth.'';
          (3) in subsection (d)--
                  (A) by redesignating paragraphs (2) through (5) as 
                paragraphs (3) through (6), respectively;
                  (B) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:
          ``(2) Protection for united states workers.--
                  ``(A) Temporary labor certification.--
                          ``(i) In general.--Beginning in fiscal year 
                        2020, a petition to import a nonimmigrant 
                        worker under this subsection may not be 
                        approved by the Secretary unless the petitioner 
                        has applied to the Secretary of Labor for a 
                        temporary labor certification confirming that--
                                  ``(I) there are not sufficient United 
                                States workers in the Commonwealth who 
                                are able, willing, qualified, and 
                                available at the time and place needed 
                                to perform the services or labor 
                                involved in the petition; and
                                  ``(II) employment of the nonimmigrant 
                                worker will not adversely affect the 
                                wages and working conditions of 
                                similarly employed United States 
                                workers.
                          ``(ii) Petition.--After receiving a temporary 
                        labor certification under clause (i), a 
                        prospective employer may submit a petition to 
                        the Secretary for a Commonwealth Only 
                        Transitional Worker permit on behalf of the 
                        nonimmigrant worker.
                  ``(B) Prevailing wage survey.--
                          ``(i) In general.--In order to effectuate the 
                        requirement for a temporary labor certification 
                        under subparagraph (A)(i), the Secretary of 
                        Labor shall use, or make available to 
                        employers, an occupational wage survey 
                        conducted by the Governor that the Secretary of 
                        Labor has determined meets the statistical 
                        standards for determining prevailing wages in 
                        the Commonwealth on an annual basis.
                          ``(ii) Alternative method for determining the 
                        prevailing wage.--In the absence of an 
                        occupational wage survey approved by the 
                        Secretary of Labor under clause (i), the 
                        prevailing wage for an occupation in the 
                        Commonwealth shall be the arithmetic mean of 
                        the wages of workers similarly employed in the 
                        territory of Guam according to the wage 
                        component of the Occupational Employment 
                        Statistics Survey conducted by the Bureau of 
                        Labor Statistics.
                  ``(C) Minimum wage.--An employer shall pay each 
                Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker a wage that is 
                not less than the greater of--
                          ``(i) the statutory minimum wage in the 
                        Commonwealth;
                          ``(ii) the Federal minimum wage; or
                          ``(iii) the prevailing wage in the 
                        Commonwealth for the occupation in which the 
                        worker is employed.'';
                  (C) by amending paragraph (3), as redesignated, to 
                read as follows:
          ``(3) Permits.--
                  ``(A) In general.--The Secretary shall establish, 
                administer, and enforce a system for allocating and 
                determining terms and conditions of permits to be 
                issued to prospective employers for each nonimmigrant 
                worker described in this subsection who would not 
                otherwise be eligible for admission under the 
                Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et 
                seq.).
                  ``(B) Numerical cap.--The number of permits issued 
                under subparagraph (A) may not exceed--
                          ``(i) 13,000 for fiscal year 2019;
                          ``(ii) 12,500 for fiscal year 2020;
                          ``(iii) 12,000 for fiscal year 2021;
                          ``(iv) 11,500 for fiscal year 2022;
                          ``(v) 11,000 for fiscal year 2023;
                          ``(vi) 10,000 for fiscal year 2024;
                          ``(vii) 9,000 for fiscal year 2025;
                          ``(viii) 8,000 for fiscal year 2026;
                          ``(ix) 7,000 for fiscal year 2027;
                          ``(x) 6,000 for fiscal year 2028;
                          ``(xi) 5,000 for fiscal year 2029; and
                          ``(xii) 1,000 for the first quarter of fiscal 
                        year 2030.
                  ``(C) Reports regarding the percentage of united 
                states workers.--
                          ``(i) By governor.--Not later than 60 days 
                        before the end of each calendar year, the 
                        Governor shall submit a report to the Secretary 
                        that identifies the ratio between United States 
                        workers and other workers in the Commonwealth's 
                        workforce based on income tax filings with the 
                        Commonwealth for the tax year.
                          ``(ii) By gao.--Not later than December 31, 
                        2019, and biennially thereafter, the 
                        Comptroller General of the United States shall 
                        submit a report to the Chair and Ranking Member 
                        of the Committee on Energy and Natural 
                        Resources of the Senate, the Chair and Ranking 
                        Member of the Committee on Natural Resources of 
                        the House of Representatives, the Chair and 
                        Ranking Member of the Committee on Health, 
                        Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate 
                        and the Chair and Ranking Member of the 
                        Committee on Education and the Workforce of the 
                        House of Representatives that identifies the 
                        ratio between United States workers and other 
                        workers in the Commonwealth's workforce during 
                        each of the previous 5 calendar years.
                  ``(D) Petition; issuance of permits.--
                          ``(i) Submission.--A prospective employer may 
                        submit a petition for a permit under this 
                        paragraph not earlier than--
                                  ``(I) 120 days before the date on 
                                which the prospective employer needs 
                                the beneficiary's services; or
                                  ``(II) if the petition is for the 
                                renewal of an existing permit, not 
                                earlier than 180 days before the 
                                expiration of such permit.
                          ``(ii) Employment verification.--The 
                        Secretary shall establish a system for each 
                        employer of a Commonwealth Only Transitional 
                        Worker to submit a semiannual report to the 
                        Secretary and the Secretary of Labor that 
                        provides evidence to verify the continuing 
                        employment and payment of such worker under the 
                        terms and conditions set forth in the permit 
                        petition that the employer filed on behalf of 
                        such worker.
                          ``(iii) Revocation.--
                                  ``(I) In general.--The Secretary, in 
                                the Secretary's discretion, may revoke 
                                a permit approved under this paragraph 
                                for good cause, including if--
                                          ``(aa) the employer fails to 
                                        maintain the continuous 
                                        employment of the subject 
                                        worker, fails to pay the 
                                        subject worker, fails to timely 
                                        file a semiannual report 
                                        required under this paragraph, 
                                        or commits any other violation 
                                        of the terms and conditions of 
                                        employment;
                                          ``(bb) the beneficiary of 
                                        such petition does not apply 
                                        for admission to the 
                                        Commonwealth by the date that 
                                        is 10 days after the period of 
                                        petition validity begins, if 
                                        the employer has requested 
                                        consular processing; or
                                          ``(cc) the employer fails to 
                                        provide a former, current, or 
                                        prospective Commonwealth Only 
                                        Transitional Worker, not later 
                                        than 21 business days after 
                                        receiving a written request 
                                        from such worker, with the 
                                        original (or a certified copy 
                                        of the original) of all 
                                        petitions, notices, and other 
                                        written communication related 
                                        to the worker (other than 
                                        sensitive financial or 
                                        proprietary information of the 
                                        employer, which may be 
                                        redacted) that has been 
                                        exchanged between the employer 
                                        and the Department of Labor, 
                                        the Department of Homeland 
                                        Security, or any other Federal 
                                        agency or department.
                                  ``(II) Reallocation of revoked 
                                petition.--Notwithstanding subparagraph 
                                (C), for each permit revoked under 
                                subclause (I) in a fiscal year, an 
                                additional permit shall be made 
                                available for use in the subsequent 
                                fiscal year.
                          ``(iv) Legitimate business.--
                                  ``(I) In general.--A permit may not 
                                be approved for a prospective employer 
                                that is not a legitimate business.
                                  ``(II) Defined term.--In this clause, 
                                the term `legitimate business' means a 
                                real, active, and operating commercial 
                                or entrepreneurial undertaking that the 
                                Secretary, in the Secretary's sole 
                                discretion, determines--
                                          ``(aa) produces services or 
                                        goods for profit, or is a 
                                        governmental, charitable, or 
                                        other validly recognized 
                                        nonprofit entity;
                                          ``(bb) meets applicable legal 
                                        requirements for doing business 
                                        in the Commonwealth;
                                          ``(cc) has substantially 
                                        complied with wage and hour 
                                        laws, occupational safety and 
                                        health requirements, and all 
                                        other Federal and Commonwealth 
                                        requirements related to 
                                        employment during the preceding 
                                        5 years;
                                          ``(dd) does not directly or 
                                        indirectly engage in 
                                        prostitution, human 
                                        trafficking, or any other 
                                        activity that is illegal under 
                                        Federal or Commonwealth law; 
                                        and
                                          ``(ee) is a participant in 
                                        good standing in the E Verify 
                                        program.
                          ``(v) Construction occupations.--A permit for 
                        Construction and Extraction Occupations (as 
                        defined by the Department of Labor as Standard 
                        Occupational Classification Group 47-0000) may 
                        not be issued for any worker other than a 
                        worker described in paragraph (7)(B).'';
                  (D) in paragraph (4), as redesignated, by inserting 
                ``or to Guam for the purpose of transit only'' after 
                ``except admission to the Commonwealth'';
                  (E) in paragraph (5), as redesignated, by adding at 
                the end the following: ``Approval of a petition filed 
                by the new employer with a start date within the same 
                fiscal year as the current permit shall not count 
                against the numerical limitation for that period.''; 
                and
                  (F) by adding at the end the following:
          ``(7) Requirement to remain outside of the united states.--
                  ``(A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (B)--
                          ``(i) a permit for a Commonwealth Only 
                        Transitional Worker--
                                  ``(I) shall remain valid for a period 
                                that may not exceed 1 year; and
                                  ``(II) may be renewed for not more 
                                than 2 consecutive, 1-year periods; and
                          ``(ii) at the expiration of the second 
                        renewal period, an alien may not again be 
                        eligible for such a permit until after the 
                        alien has remained outside of the United States 
                        for a continuous period of at least 30 days.
                  ``(B) Long-term workers.--An alien who was admitted 
                to the Commonwealth as a Commonwealth Only Transitional 
                Worker during fiscal year 2015, and during every 
                subsequent fiscal year beginning before the date of the 
                enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. 
                Workforce Act, may receive a permit for a Commonwealth 
                Only Transitional Worker that is valid for a period 
                that may not exceed 3 years and may be renewed for 
                additional 3-year periods during the transition period. 
                A permit issued under this subparagraph shall be 
                counted toward the numerical cap for each fiscal year 
                within the period of petition validity.''; and
          (4) by adding at the end the following:
                          ``(i) Definitions.--In this section:
          ``(1) Commonwealth.--The term `Commonwealth' means the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
          ``(2) Commonwealth only transition worker.--The term 
        `Commonwealth Only Transition Worker' means an alien who has 
        been admitted into the Commonwealth under the transition 
        program and is eligible for a permit under subsection (d)(3).
          ``(3) Governor.--The term `Governor' means the Governor of 
        the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
          ``(4) Secretary.--The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of 
        Homeland Security.
          ``(5) Tax year.--The term `tax year' means the fiscal year 
        immediately preceding the current fiscal year.
          ``(6) United states worker.--The term `United States worker' 
        means any worker who is--
                  ``(A) a citizen or national of the United States;
                  ``(B) an alien who has been lawfully admitted for 
                permanent residence; or
                  ``(C) a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall 
                Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the 
                Republic of Palau (known collectively as the `Freely 
                Associated States') who has been lawfully admitted to 
                the United States pursuant to--
                          ``(i) section 141 of the Compact of Free 
                        Association between the Government of the 
                        United States and the Governments of the 
                        Marshall Islands and the Federated States of 
                        Micronesia (48 U.S.C. 1921 note); or
                          ``(ii) section 141 of the Compact of Free 
                        Association between the United States and the 
                        Government of Palau (48 U.S.C. 1931 note).''.
    (b) Rulemaking.--
          (1) Secretary of homeland security.--Notwithstanding the 
        requirements under section 553(b) of title 5, United States 
        Code, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall publish in the 
        Federal Register, not later than 180 days after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act, an interim final rule that specifies how 
        the Secretary intends to implement the amendments made by 
        subsection (a) that relate to the responsibilities of the 
        Secretary.
          (2) Secretary of labor.--Notwithstanding the requirements 
        under section 553(b) of title 5, United States Code, the 
        Secretary of Labor shall publish in the Federal Register, not 
        later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this 
        Act, an interim final rule that specifies how the Secretary 
        intends to implement the amendments made by subsection (a) that 
        relate to the responsibilities of the Secretary.
          (3) Recommendations of the governor.--In developing the 
        interim final rules under paragraphs (1) and (2), the Secretary 
        of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Labor--
                  (A) shall each consider, in good faith, any written 
                public recommendations regarding the implementation of 
                this Act that are submitted by the Governor of the 
                Commonwealth not later than 60 days after the date of 
                the enactment of this Act; and
                  (B) may include provisions in such rule that are 
                responsive to any recommendation of the Governor that 
                is not inconsistent with this Act, including a 
                recommendation to reserve a number of permits each year 
                for occupational categories necessary to maintain 
                public health or safety in the Commonwealth.
    (c) Department of the Interior Technical Assistance.--Not later 
than October 1, 2019, and biennially thereafter, the Secretary of the 
Interior shall submit a report to Congress that describes the 
fulfillment of the Department of the Interior's responsibilities to the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands--
          (1) to identify opportunities for economic growth and 
        diversification;
          (2) to provide assistance in recruiting, training, and hiring 
        United States workers; and
          (3) to provide such other technical assistance and 
        consultation as outlined in section 702(e) of the Consolidated 
        Natural Resources Act of 2008 (48 U.S.C. 1807).
    (d) Outreach and Training.--Not later than 120 days after the date 
on which the Secretary of Labor publishes an interim final rule in the 
Federal Register in accordance with subsection (b)(2), the Secretary 
shall conduct outreach and training in the Commonwealth of the Northern 
Mariana Islands for employers and workers on the foreign labor 
certification process set forth in section 6 of the Joint Resolution 
entitled ``A Joint Resolution to approve the `Covenant To Establish a 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with 
the United States of America', and for other purposes'', as amended by 
subsection (b), including the minimum wage requirement set forth in 
subsection (d)(2)(C) of such section.

                                Purpose

    The purpose of S. 2325 is to increase the percentage of 
United States workers in the total workforce of the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), while 
maintaining the minimum number of non-U.S. workers to meet the 
demands of the CNMI's economy; to encourage the hiring of U.S. 
workers into the CNMI workforce; and to ensure that no U.S. 
worker is at a competitive disadvantage compared to a non-U.S. 
worker or is displaced by a non-U.S. worker.

                          Background and Need

    The CNMI is a self-governing commonwealth in political 
union with, and under the sovereignty of, the United States. As 
such, the CNMI remains an unincorporated territory of the 
United States, subject to Congress's plenary authority under 
the Territory Clause, article IV, section 3, clause 2, of the 
Constitution. Pursuant to the Territory Clause, Congress has 
the responsibility to ``make all needful Rules and Regulations 
respecting'' the insular areas under its jurisdiction.
    In 1976, Congress approved the Covenant to Establish the 
CNMI in Political Union with the United States of America 
(Public Law 94-241). The Covenant was fully implemented on 
November 3, 1986, and conferred U.S. citizenship on qualified 
CNMI residents. The Covenant also exempted the CNMI from most 
of the provisions of U.S. immigration law so that the CNMI 
controlled immigration locally. Under this local immigration 
authority, the CNMI established programs to permit aliens to 
enter into the CNMI as workers and investors.
    Section 503 of the Covenant allows Congress to unilaterally 
extend U.S. immigration and naturalization laws to the CNMI and 
this was done under the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 
2008 (CNRA, Public Law 110-229). The CNRA provided for: (1) a 
five-year transition period until Federal immigration laws 
would fully apply; (2) a Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker 
(CW) classification to meet the CNMI's need for foreign workers 
who would not otherwise be eligible to enter the CNMI under 
Federal law; (3) a vocational training fund to support the 
training of U.S. citizens and legal residents to fill jobs held 
by foreign workers; and (4) a $150 fee to be charged to 
employers for each foreign worker visa to fund vocational 
training efforts. In 2014, Congress extended the transition 
period to December 31, 2019 (Public Law 113-235). In 2017, 
Congress enacted Public Law 115-53, which increased the fee 
paid for each CW permit to $200 and banned issuing new CW 
permits to construction workers.
    The CNRA required the U.S. Department of Homeland Security 
(DHS) to establish a temporary work permit program for foreign 
workers and to reduce annually the number of permits issued, 
reaching zero by the end of the transition period. In September 
2011, DHS, through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services (USCIS), established the CW permit program. Under the 
CW program, employers of nonimmigrant workers who are 
ineligible for other employment-based nonimmigrant visa 
classifications can apply for temporary permission to employ 
workers in the CNMI. A CW permit is normally granted for a 
period of one year. The employer may request an extension of 
status by filing a new petition. Employers may file a new 
petition, or renewal petition, up to six months in advance of 
the employee start date, or up to six months in advance of the 
previous petition's expiration. In accordance with the CNRA, 
the USCIS must annually reduce the number of CW permits to 
reach zero by the end of calendar year 2019.
    A May 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office 
(GAO), entitled Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; 
Implementation of Federal Minimum Wage and Immigration Laws, 
notes that since fiscal year 2013, demand for CW permits has 
doubled, and in fiscal year 2016, demand exceeded the numerical 
cap for the first time. Approved CW permits grew from 6,325 in 
fiscal year 2013 to 13,299 in fiscal year 2016. In 2016, DHS 
received enough petitions to approve 13,299 CW permits by May 
6, 2016, reaching the cap five months prior to the end of the 
fiscal year. Increased demand for CW permits has resulted from 
a recent economic expansion due to the construction of casinos 
and hotels.
    On April 11, 2017, USCIS received a sufficient number of 
petitions to reach the fiscal year 2018 cap of 9,998. As shown 
in the below chart, the USCIS also announced the cap for the 
remaining fiscal years of the CW program.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Fiscal Year (FY)                            Cap
------------------------------------------------------------------------
FY 2018.......................................................     9,998
FY 2019.......................................................     4,999
FY 2020 (until Dec. 31, 2019).................................     2,499
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The CNMI business community expressed concern that the 
reduced levels of available CW permits would have a negative 
impact on the CNMI's economy. The GAO report found that in 
2015, foreign workers (totaling 12,784) made up more than half 
of the CNMI's workforce and filled 80 percent of all 
hospitality and construction jobs. The GAO also found that in 
2015, if all CW workers were removed from the CNMI's labor 
market, the CNMI's gross domestic product would be reduced by 
between 26 and 62 percent. The GAO report noted that the 
unemployed domestic workforce, estimated at 2,386 in 2016, 
would be well below the CNMI's demand for labor.
    In response to labor abuses by certain employers in the 
CNMI, some have called for additional labor protections, 
including higher minimum wage requirements, the potential for 
revocation, legitimate business requirements, as well as the 
prohibition on the use of CW permits for construction workers.

                          Legislative History

    S. 2325 was introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski on January 
19, 2018. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee 
conducted a hearing on S. 2325 on February 6, 2018.
    The Committee met in open business session on March 8, 
2018, and ordered S. 2325 favorably reported, as amended.
    Similar legislation, H.R. 4869, was introduced in the House 
of Representatives by Rep. Sablan, the Delegate from the CNMI, 
on January 23, 2018.

                        Committee Recommendation

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on March 8, 2018, by a majority voice vote of 
a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 2325, if 
amended as described herein. Senator Lee asked to be recorded 
as voting no.

                          Committee Amendment

    During its consideration of S. 2325, the Committee adopted 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The substitute 
amendment includes authority for the DHS to impose an antifraud 
fee for fraud detection and prevention purposes. It refines the 
foreign labor certification process with the Secretary of 
Labor, as well as the CNMI Governor's plan for the expenditure 
of education fee funds to train U.S. workers. The substitute 
amendment also provides for the specific number of CW permits 
that would be available for each fiscal year through the end of 
the transition period, and requires employers to be part of the 
E-Verify program to be eligible to petition for a CW permit. 
The amendment also revises the CW-3 permit for long-term 
workers provided for in the bill as introduced to be part of 
the existing CW-1 permit. The amendment is further described in 
the section-by-section analysis.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 provides a short title, the ``Northern Mariana 
Islands U.S. Workforce Act.''

Section 2. Purposes

    Section 2 provides that the purposes of the bill are to 
increase the percentage of United States workers in the total 
workforce of the CNMI while maintaining the minimum number of 
non-U.S. workers to meet the demands of the CNMI's economy; to 
encourage the hiring of U.S. workers into the CNMI workforce; 
and to ensure that no U.S. worker is at a competitive 
disadvantage compared to a non-U.S. worker or is displaced by a 
non-U.S. worker.

Section 3. Transitional provisions

    Section 3(a) amends section 6 of the Joint Resolution to 
approve the ``Covenant To Establish a Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United 
States of America'' (48 U.S.C. 1806) to make a number of 
changes to the transitional provisions.
    Section (3)(a)(1)(A) extends the transition period in 
section 6(a) of the Joint Resolution to December 31, 2029.
    Section (3)(a)(1)(B) amends paragraph (6) of section 6(a) 
of the Joint Resolution. As amended, paragraph (6) will contain 
four new subparagraphs (A) through (D).
    The new subparagraph (A) contains four clauses (i) through 
(iv).
    Clause (i) directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to 
impose an annual supplemental fee of $200 per nonimmigrant 
worker on each prospective employer who is issued a permit 
during the transition program.
    New clauses (ii) and (iii) allow the supplemental education 
fee established by section 286(m) of the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1356(m)) to be adjusted annually for 
inflation and require that the monies collected be used for 
funding vocational education, apprenticeships, or other 
training programs for U.S. workers.
    New clause (iv) establishes a $50 fraud prevention and 
detection user fee for each employer filing a petition for a 
CW.
    The new subparagraphs (B) through (D) require the CNMI 
Governor to submit an annual plan to the U.S. Secretary of 
Labor for the expenditure of the supplemental education fee and 
condition the availability of funds on the Labor Secretary's 
approval of the plan. The Secretary of Labor is further 
directed to report to Congress on the effectiveness of the CNMI 
Government in meeting the plan's goals.
    Section 3(a)(2) of the bill adds a new paragraph (3) to 
section 6(b) of the Joint Resolution to direct the Secretary of 
Homeland Security to submit a report to Congress by December 1, 
2027, on the projected number of asylum seekers the Secretary 
anticipates following the end of the transition period, and 
efforts made by the Secretary to prepare for those asylum 
seekers.
    Section 3(a)(3) of the bill adds a new paragraph (2) to 
section 6(d) of the Joint Resolution, and reorders the existing 
paragraphs accordingly. The new paragraph (2) contains three 
new subparagraphs (A) through (C).
    The new subparagraph (A) requires employers to obtain a 
temporary labor certification from the U.S. Secretary of Labor 
that a qualified U.S. worker is not available before filing a 
petition for a CW permit.
    The new subparagraph (B) requires the U.S. Secretary of 
Labor to make available to employers the prevailing wage level 
for employment of a CW worker.
    The new subparagraph (C) requires the employer to pay a CW 
worker not less than the greater of the CNMI minimum wage, the 
federal minimum wage, or the prevailing wage as provided by the 
Secretary of Labor.
    Section 3(a)(3)(C) of the bill amends paragraph (3) of 
section 6(d) of the Joint Resolution, as redesignated. As 
amended, section 6(d)(3) will contain four new subparagraphs 
(A) through (D).
    The new subparagraph (A) directs the Secretary of Homeland 
Security to establish, administer and enforce a permit system 
for prospective employers for each nonimmigrant worker.
    The new subparagraph (B) provides for a numerical cap on 
the number of CW permits that are to be made available for each 
of the fiscal years from 2019 through the first quarter of 
2030.
    The new subparagraph (C) requires reports from the Governor 
of the CNMI and from GAO on the ratio of U.S. workers to non-
U.S. workers in the CNMI.
    The new subparagraph (D) contains five new clauses (i) 
through (v) pertaining to permits.
    New clause (i) allows an employer to petition for renewal 
of a CW permit 180 days before the expiration of the permit, 
and to petition for a new permit 120 days prior to the need of 
such permit.
    New clause (ii) requires the Secretary of Homeland Security 
to establish a system for each employer of a CW permit holder 
to submit semiannual reports for employment verification.
    New clause (iii) authorizes the Secretary of Homeland 
Security to revoke a permit for good cause and reallocate a 
revoked permit to the following fiscal year. It further 
authorizes the Secretary to determine what constitutes a 
legitimate business.
    New clause (iv) specifies that only legitimate businesses 
may apply for a CW permit.
    New clause (v) specifies that only workers who meet the 
qualifications of a long-term worker under paragraph 7(B) may 
be issued a CW permit for construction occupations.
    Section 3(a)(3)(D) of the bill amends paragraph (4) of 
section 6(d) of the Joint Resolution, as redesignated, to 
authorize CW permit holders to transit through Guam.
    Section 3(a)(3)(E) of the bill amends paragraph (5) of 
section 6(d) of Joint Resolution, as redesignated, to authorize 
the portability of CW permit holders between employers in the 
CNMI in a specific fiscal year without further counting against 
that fiscal year's numerical cap.
    Section 3(a)(3)(F) adds a new paragraph (7) to section 6(d) 
of the Joint Resolution, as redesignated. The new paragraph (7) 
contains two subparagraphs.
    Subparagraph (A) specifies that except as provided for 
long-term workers, a CW permit may not exceed one year and may 
be renewed for an additional year. After two consecutive years, 
an alien must remain outside of the United States for a 
continuous period of 30 days before being eligible again for 
another CW permit.
    Subparagraph (B) authorizes long-term workers, including 
construction workers, who have held a CW permit since fiscal 
year 2015 to obtain a three-year CW permit that may be renewed 
for additional three-year periods during the transition period.
    Section 3(a)(4) of the bill adds a new subsection (i) to 
section 6 of the Joint Resolution to define terms used in 
section 6.
    Section 3(b) of the bill directs the Secretaries of 
Homeland Security and Labor to publish separate interim final 
rules specifying how they will implement the amendments set 
forth in subsection (a) relating to their respective 
responsibilities.
    Section 3(c) of the bill requires the Secretary of the 
Interior to report to Congress on the Department's 
responsibilities to the CNMI to identify opportunities for 
economic growth; provide assistance in recruiting, training, 
and hiring U.S. workers; and provide other technical assistance 
to the CNMI.
    Section 3(d) requires the U.S. Secretary of Labor to 
conduct outreach and training in the CNMI for employers and 
workers on the foreign labor certification process.

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

    The Congressional Budget Estimate of the costs of this 
measure has been requested but was not received at the time the 
report was filed. When the Congressional Budget Office 
completes its cost estimate, it will be posted on the internet 
at www.cbo.gov.

                      Regulatory Impact Evaluation

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 2325. The bill requires the Secretary of 
Homeland Security to carry out a system for allocating and 
determining terms and conditions of CW permits to be issued to 
prospective employers. Those employers who petition for a CW 
permit, and the beneficiaries of such permit, would be impacted 
by regulations the Secretary of Homeland Security promulgates 
to carry out this authority. The estimated number of 
individuals impacted by these regulations is tied to the number 
of CW permits made available for each fiscal year as provided 
in section (a)(3)(C) of the substitute amendment. Based on 
prior year data of employers who successfully petitioned for a 
CW permit, the estimated number of businesses who would be 
regulated is 1,350.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    S. 2325, as ordered reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        Executive Communications

    The testimony provided by the Department of the Interior at 
the January 19, 2018, hearing on S. 2325 follows:

 Statement of Douglas Domenech, Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas--
                       Department of the Interior

    Chairman Murkowski, Ranking Member Cantwell, and Members of 
the Committee, I am Doug Domenech, Assistant Secretary for 
Insular Areas at the Department of the Interior (Department). 
Thank you for the opportunity to testify regarding S. 2325, the 
Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act. The Department 
looks forward to working with Congress and the Committee to 
assist the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) 
to provide a long-term solution to the CNMI's labor needs and 
economic challenges, to protect and provide Americans and other 
U.S.-eligible workers job opportunities, and to identify new 
opportunities for growth and diversification.


                         provisions of s. 2325


    S. 2325 would (1) extend the termination date of the 
transition period for the full application of federal 
immigration laws by 10 years, (2) allow for the annual 
adjustment of the supplemental fee of $200 per nonimmigrant 
worker on each prospective employer issued a permit to employ 
such workers, (3) clarify the eligible uses and distribution 
requirements of supplemental fee funds, (4) raise the annual 
number of authorized CNMI-only transitional worker (CW-1) visas 
to 13,000 during fiscal year 2019, (5) seek to increase the 
percentage of United States workers by creating incentives for 
the hiring, protection or retention of United States workers, 
(6) establish new application procedures for the issuance of 
CW-1 visas, and (7) authorize certain eligible aliens (CW-3 
workers) to receive work permits for three years, subject to 
three year renewal periods during the duration of the 
transitional period.
    Extending the transition period until December 31, 2029 
would, in addition to its effects on the CW-1 program, extend: 
(1) the exception to the otherwise applicable annual caps on H-
1B and H-2B nonimmigrant workers for employment in the CNMI or 
Guam; (2) the E-2C CNMI nonimmigrant category for certain 
investors in the CNMI; and (3) the bar on asylum applications 
under section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act in the 
CNMI.


                        recent economic history


    The Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) began to be governed 
under the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern 
Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of 
America (the Covenant) and the CNMI Constitution in 1978, with 
the Covenant fully taking effect in 1986. It was expected that 
tourism was going to be part of the foundation on which CNMI's 
economy would be built. In the early 1980s, a garment industry 
was introduced and, thereafter, expanded rapidly. The garment 
industry peaked in 1998, with a $1.1 billion business built on 
imported foreign labor. By 2009, all the garment factories were 
closed causing a significant negative impact on CNMI's economy. 
CNMI's annual budgets dropped from a high of $247 million in 
1997 to $102 million in 2012.
    Faced with drastic revenue reduction and increasing 
liabilities, the CNMI government struggled to meet its mandated 
obligations. With impending financial ruin for CNMI government 
retirees, CNMI political leaders charted a new economic course 
for their islands. A contract was signed on August 8, 2014, 
that made the CNMI an international gambling destination. It 
was an option which the CNMI leaders found to have greater 
potential to improve the CNMI's economy quickly and to enable 
the local government to afford paying its financial 
obligations.
    A new casino broke ground in July 2015. Since then, casino-
based revenue has already started to bolster the territory's 
economy and provide security for its retirees.
    Plans from substantially more private and public investment 
in CNMI were shattered when Typhoon Soudelor made landfall on 
the island of Saipan in August 2015. The devastation from the 
typhoon brought extreme competition for supplies and labor and 
delays in casino and hotel construction.
    In addition, the CNMI economy has become increasingly 
dependent on CW-1 visas, which were authorized by the 
Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA), Public Law 
110-229. The statute's mandate for the numerical reduction on 
CW-1 visas became an issue, considering that for fiscal year 
2016 the entire number of available CW-1 visas was fully 
subscribed in May 2016, and was fully subscribed within two 
weeks for fiscal year 2017. CNMI's economy remains, admittedly, 
substantially dependent on what was supposed to be a temporary 
visa category that has been around for less than 10 years.
    CNMI continues to experience labor difficulties. We look 
forward to working with Congress to fulfill Congress's intent 
to ensure a gradual, responsible CW-1 visa wind-down, while 
ensuring policies are in place that allow CNMI to continue its 
nascent economic progress. The Department looks forward to 
discussing opportunities to provide a long-term solution and S. 
2325 is an important step in that ongoing dialogue.
    Billions of dollars are being invested in casino and hotel 
facilities, increasing the number of civilian construction 
projects. Without some effort to provide legal labor relief to 
CNMI, it is anticipated that projected investments in the CNMI 
will be lost. When slated casinos and hotels finally open, the 
Marianas Visitors Authority estimates that they will need 
18,500 additional employees to run them. A recent report by the 
U.S. Government Accountability Office projects that without 
sufficient foreign labor the economy of the NMI would contract 
by an estimated 26 to 62 percent.
    On August 22, 2017, in recognition of the need to address 
the short-term labor needs of the CNMI, the President signed 
into law P.L. 115-53, which took the pressure off of the annual 
limit of 15,000 on CW-1 visas by requiring that the recent 
sudden increase in demand for construction be accommodated by 
issuing H-2B visas.


                        administration position


    The Administration is committed to working with the 
leadership and people of CNMI to ensure robust and healthy 
economic growth, and appreciates that appropriate access to 
labor is key to such growth. The Administration is also 
committed to doing all it can to not only follow the laws of 
our nation, but also to help employ American citizens wherever 
possible.
    The Administration remains open to working with Congress 
and the Committee to help develop the best legislation for 
addressing all of the economic and labor needs of the United 
States and CNMI. The Administration would be open to supporting 
legislation that facilitates the hiring of Americans and 
reduces CNMI's overall reliance on foreign labor by requiring a 
responsible, explicit wind-down of CW-1 visas to zero.
    The Department of the Interior, through the Office of 
Insular Affairs (OIA), has been providing technical assistance 
to the CNMI as called for under the Consolidated Natural 
Resources Act of 2008, Public Law 110-229. Under the proposed 
legislation, the Department would be responsible to compile the 
aforementioned biennial report. The Department supports the 
intent and content of this report, but acknowledges that much 
of the content and work would be done by or in conjunction with 
the Departments of Homeland Security, Labor and Commerce.
    I appreciate the opportunity to speak on behalf of the 
Department today, and look forward to helping develop a 
solution that supports the economic growth that we all seek.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, S. 2325, as ordered reported, are shown as follows 
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black 
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in 
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):

                           UNITED STATES CODE

                     Public Law 94-241, as Amended


                            JOINT RESOLUTION

    To approve the ``Covenant To Establish a Commonwealth of 
the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United 
States of America'', and for other purposes.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE 48--TERRITORIES AND INSULAR POSSESSIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 6. Sec.  1806. IMMIGRATION AND TRANSITION.

    (a) Application of the Immigration and Nationality Act and 
Establishment of A Transition Program.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), 
        effective on the first day of the first full month 
        commencing 1 year after May 8, 2008 (hereafter referred 
        to as the ``transition program effective date''), the 
        provisions of the ``immigration laws'' (as defined in 
        section 101(a)(17) of the Immigration and Nationality 
        Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(17))) shall apply to the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (referred 
        to in this section as the ``Commonwealth''), except as 
        otherwise provided in this section.
          (2) Transition period.--There shall be a transition 
        period beginning on the transition program effective 
        date and ending on December 31, [2019] 2029, during 
        which the Secretary of Homeland Security, in 
        consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney 
        General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of 
        the Interior, shall establish, administer, and enforce 
        a transition program to regulate immigration to the 
        Commonwealth, as provided in this section (hereafter 
        referred to as the ``transition program'').
          (3) Delay of commencement of transition period.--
                  (A) In general.--The Secretary of Homeland 
                Security, in the Secretary's sole discretion, 
                in consultation with the Secretary of the 
                Interior, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary 
                of State, the Attorney General, and the 
                Governor of the Commonwealth, may determine 
                that the transition program effective date be 
                delayed for a period not to exceed more than 
                180 days after such date.
                  (B) Congressional notification.-- The 
                Secretary of Homeland Security shall notify the 
                Congress of a determination under subparagraph 
                (A) not later than 30 days prior to the 
                transition program effective date.
                  (C) Congressional review.-- A delay of the 
                transition program effective date shall not 
                take effect until 30 days after the date on 
                which the notification under subparagraph (B) 
                is made.
          (4) Requirement for regulations.--The transition 
        program shall be implemented pursuant to regulations to 
        be promulgated, as appropriate, by the head of each 
        agency or department of the United States having 
        responsibilities under the transition program.
          (5) Interagency agreements.-- The Secretary of 
        Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, the 
        Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of the Interior 
        shall negotiate and implement agreements among their 
        agencies to identify and assign their respective duties 
        so as to ensure timely and proper implementation of the 
        provisions of this section. The agreements should 
        address, at a minimum, procedures to ensure that 
        Commonwealth employers have access to adequate labor, 
        and that tourists, students, retirees, and other 
        visitors have access to the Commonwealth without 
        unnecessary delay or impediment. The agreements may 
        also allocate funding between the respective agencies 
        tasked with various responsibilities under this 
        section.
          [(6) Certain education funding.--In addition to fees 
        charged pursuant to section 286(m) of the Immigration 
        and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1356(m)) to recover the 
        full costs of providing adjudication services, the 
        Secretary of Homeland Security shall charge an annual 
        supplemental fee of $200 per nonimmigrant worker to 
        each prospective employer who is issued a permit under 
        subsection (d) of this section during the transition 
        period. Such supplemental fee shall be paid into the 
        Treasury of the Commonwealth government for the purpose 
        of funding ongoing vocational educational curricula and 
        program development by Commonwealth educational 
        entities.]
          (6) Fees for training united states workers.--
                  (A) Supplemental fee.--
                          (i) In general.--In addition to fees 
                        imposed pursuant to section 286(m) of 
                        the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
                        U.S.C. 1356(m)) to recover the full 
                        costs of adjudication services, the 
                        Secretary shall impose an annual 
                        supplemental fee of $200 per 
                        nonimmigrant worker on each prospective 
                        employer who is issued a permit under 
                        subsection (d)(3) during the transition 
                        program. A prospective employer that is 
                        issued a permit with a validity period 
                        of longer than 1 year shall pay the fee 
                        for each year of requested validity at 
                        the time the permit is issued.
                          (ii) Inflation adjustment.--Beginning 
                        in fiscal year 2020, the Secretary, 
                        through notice in the Federal Register, 
                        may annually adjust the supplemental 
                        fee imposed under clause (i) by a 
                        percentage equal to the annual change 
                        in the Consumer Price Index for All 
                        Urban Consumers published by the Bureau 
                        of Labor Statistics.
                          (iii) Use of funds.--Amounts 
                        collected pursuant to clause (i) shall 
                        be deposited into the Treasury of the 
                        Commonwealth Government for the sole 
                        and exclusive purpose of funding 
                        vocational education, apprenticeships, 
                        or other training programs for United 
                        States workers.
                          (iv) Fraud prevention and detection 
                        fee.--In addition to the fees described 
                        in clause (i), the Secretary--
                                  (I) shall impose, on each 
                                prospective employer filing a 
                                petition under this subsection 
                                for 1 or more nonimmigrant 
                                workers, a $50 fraud prevention 
                                and detection fee; and
                                  (II) shall deposit and use 
                                the fees collected under 
                                subclause (I) in accordance 
                                with section 286(v)(2)(B) of 
                                the Immigration and Nationality 
                                Act (8 U.S.C. 1356(v)(2)(B)).
                  (B) Plan for the expenditure of funds.--Not 
                later than 120 days before the first day of 
                fiscal year 2020, and annually thereafter, the 
                Governor of the Commonwealth Government shall 
                submit to the Secretary of Labor--
                          (i) a plan for the expenditures of 
                        amounts deposited under subparagraph 
                        (A)(iii);
                          (ii) a projection of the 
                        effectiveness of such expenditures in 
                        the placement of United States workers 
                        into jobs held by non-United States 
                        workers; and
                          (iii) a report on the changes in 
                        employment of United States workers 
                        attributable to expenditures of such 
                        amounts during the previous year.
                  (C) Determination and report.--Not later than 
                120 days after receiving each expenditure plan 
                under subparagraph (B)(i), the Secretary of 
                Labor shall--
                          (i) issue a determination on the 
                        plan; and
                          (ii) submit a report to Congress that 
                        describes the effectiveness of the 
                        Commonwealth Government at meeting the 
                        goals set forth in such plan.
                  (D) Payment restriction.--Payments may not be 
                made in a fiscal year from amounts deposited 
                under subparagraph (A)(iii) before the 
                Secretary of Labor has approved the expenditure 
                plan submitted under subparagraph (B)(i) for 
                that fiscal year.''
          (7) Asylum.--Section 208 of the Immigration and 
        Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1158) shall not apply during 
        the transition period to persons physically present in 
        the Commonwealth or arriving in the Commonwealth 
        (whether or not at a designated port of arrival), 
        including persons brought to the Commonwealth after 
        having been interdicted in international or United 
        States waters.
    (b) Numerical Limitations for Nonimmigrant Workers.--
          (1) In general.--
                  (A) Nonimmigrant workers generally.--An 
                alien, if otherwise qualified, may seek 
                admission to Guam or to the Commonwealth during 
                the transition program as a nonimmigrant worker 
                under section 101(a)(15)(H) of the Immigration 
                and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)) 
                without counting against the numerical 
                limitations set forth in section 214(g) of such 
                Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)).
                  (B) H-2B workers.--In the case of such an 
                alien who seeks admission under section 
                101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 
                1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b)), such alien, if 
                otherwise qualified, may, before October 1, 
                2023, be admitted under such section for a 
                period of up to 3 years to perform service or 
                labor on Guam or the Commonwealth pursuant to 
                any agreement entered into by a prime 
                contractor or subcontractor calling for 
                services or labor required for performance of a 
                contact or subcontract for construction, 
                repairs, renovations, or facility services that 
                is directly connected to, or associated with, 
                the military realignment occurring on Guam and 
                the Commonwealth, notwithstanding the 
                requirement of such section that the service or 
                labor be temporary.
          (2) Limitations.--
                  (A) Numerical limitation.--For any fiscal 
                year, not more 4,000 aliens may be admitted to 
                Guam and the Commonwealth pursuant to paragraph 
                (1)(B).
                  (B) Location.--Paragraph (1)(B) does not 
                apply with respect to the performance of 
                services or labor at a location other than Guam 
                or the Commonwealth.
          (3) Report.--Not later than December 1, 2027, the 
        Secretary shall submit a report to the Committee on 
        Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate, the 
        Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, the Committee 
        on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives, 
        and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of 
        Representatives that--
                  (A) projects the number of asylum claims the 
                Secretary anticipates following the termination 
                of the transition period; and
                  (B) describes the efforts of the Secretary to 
                ensure appropriate interdiction efforts, 
                provide for appropriate treatment of asylum 
                seekers, and prepare to accept and adjudicate 
                asylum claims in the Commonwealth.
      (c) Nonimmigrant Investor Visas.--
          (1) In general.--Notwithstanding the treaty 
        requirements in section 101(a)(15)(E) of the 
        Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
        1101(a)(15)(E)), during the transition period, the 
        Secretary of Homeland Security may, upon the 
        application of an alien, classify an alien as a CNMI-
        only nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(E)(ii) of 
        the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
        1101(a)(15)(E)(ii)) if the alien--
                  (A) has been admitted to the Commonwealth in 
                long-term investor status under the immigration 
                laws of the Commonwealth before the transition 
                program effective date;
                  (B) has continuously maintained residence in 
                the Commonwealth under long-term investor 
                status;
                  (C) is otherwise admissible; and
                  (D) maintains the investment or investments 
                that formed the basis for such long-term 
                investor status.
          (2) Requirement for regulations.--Not later than 60 
        days before the transition program effective date, the 
        Secretary of Homeland Security shall publish 
        regulations in the Federal Register to implement this 
        subsection.
    (d) Special Provision To Ensure Adequate Employment; 
Commonwealth Only Transitional Workers.--An alien who is 
seeking to enter the Commonwealth as a nonimmigrant worker may 
be admitted to perform work during the transition period 
subject to the following requirements:
          (1) Such an alien shall be treated as a nonimmigrant 
        described in section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and 
        Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)), including the 
        ability to apply, if otherwise eligible, for a change 
        of nonimmigrant classification under section 248 of 
        such Act (8 U.S.C. 1258) or adjustment of status under 
        this section and section 245 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 
        1255).
          (2) Protection for united states workers.--
                  (A) Temporary labor certification.--
                          (i) In general.--Beginning in fiscal 
                        year 2020, a petition to import a 
                        nonimmigrant worker under this 
                        subsection may not be approved by the 
                        Secretary unless the petitioner has 
                        applied to the Secretary of Labor for a 
                        temporary labor certification 
                        confirming that--
                                  (I) there are not sufficient 
                                United States workers in the 
                                Commonwealth who are able, 
                                willing, qualified, and 
                                available at the time and place 
                                needed to perform the services 
                                or labor involved in the 
                                petition; and
                                  (II) employment of the 
                                nonimmigrant worker will not 
                                adversely affect the wages and 
                                working conditions of similarly 
                                employed United States workers.
                          (ii) Petition.--After receiving a 
                        temporary labor certification under 
                        clause (i), a prospective employer may 
                        submit a petition to the Secretary for 
                        a Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker 
                        permit on behalf of the nonimmigrant 
                        worker.
                  (B) Prevailing wage survey.--
                          (i) In general.--In order to 
                        effectuate the requirement for a 
                        temporary labor certification under 
                        subparagraph (A)(i), the Secretary of 
                        Labor shall use, or make available to 
                        employers, an occupational wage survey 
                        conducted by the Governor that the 
                        Secretary of Labor has determined meets 
                        the statistical standards for 
                        determining prevailing wages in the 
                        Commonwealth on an annual basis.
                          (ii) Alternative method for 
                        determining the prevailing wage.--In 
                        the absence of an occupational wage 
                        survey approved by the Secretary of 
                        Labor under clause (i), the prevailing 
                        wage for an occupation in the 
                        Commonwealth shall be the arithmetic 
                        mean of the wages of workers similarly 
                        employed in the territory of Guam 
                        according to the wage component of the 
                        Occupational Employment Statistics 
                        Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor 
                        Statistics.
                  (C) Minimum wage.--An employer shall pay each 
                Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker a wage 
                that is not less than the greater of--
                          (i) the statutory minimum wage in the 
                        Commonwealth;
                          (ii) the Federal minimum wage; or
                          (iii) the prevailing wage in the 
                        Commonwealth for the occupation in 
                        which the worker is employed.
          [(2) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall 
        establish, administer, and enforce a system for 
        allocating and determining the number, terms, and 
        conditions of permits to be issued to prospective 
        employers for each such nonimmigrant worker described 
        in this subsection who would not otherwise be eligible 
        for admission under the Immigration and Nationality Act 
        (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), except a permit for 
        construction occupations (as that term is defined by 
        the Department of Labor as Standard Occupational 
        Classification Group 47-0000 or any successor 
        provision) shall only be issued to extend a permit 
        first issued before October 1, 2015. In adopting and 
        enforcing this system, the Secretary shall also 
        consider, in good faith and not later than 30 days 
        after receipt by the Secretary, any comments and advice 
        submitted by the Governor of the Commonwealth. This 
        system shall provide for a reduction in the allocation 
        of permits for such workers on an annual basis to zero, 
        during a period ending on December 31, 2019, except 
        that for fiscal year 2017 an additional 350 permits 
        shall be made available for extension of existing 
        permits, expiring after August 22, 2017, through 
        September 30, 2017, of which no fewer than 60 shall be 
        reserved for healthcare practitioners and technical 
        operations (as that term is defined by the Department 
        of Labor as Standard Occupational Classification Group 
        29-0000 or any successor provision), and no fewer than 
        10 shall be reserved for plant and system operators (as 
        that term is defined by the Department of Labor as 
        Standard Occupational Classification Group 51-8000 or 
        any successor provision). In no event shall a permit be 
        valid beyond the expiration of the transition period. 
        This system may be based on any reasonable method and 
        criteria determined by the Secretary of Homeland 
        Security to promote the maximum use of, and to prevent 
        adverse effects on wages and working conditions of, 
        workers authorized to be employed in the United States, 
        including lawfully admissible freely associated state 
        citizen labor. No alien shall be granted nonimmigrant 
        classification or a visa under this subsection unless 
        the permit requirements established under this 
        paragraph have been met.]
          (3) Permits.--
                  (A) In general.--The Secretary shall 
                establish, administer, and enforce a system for 
                allocating and determining terms and conditions 
                of permits to be issued to prospective 
                employers for each nonimmigrant worker 
                described in this subsection who would not 
                otherwise be eligible for admission under the 
                Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 
                et seq.).
                  (B) Numerical cap.--The number of permits 
                issued under subparagraph (A) may not exceed--
                          (i) 13,000 for fiscal year 2019;
                          (ii) 12,500 for fiscal year 2020;
                          (iii) 12,000 for fiscal year 2021;
                          (iv) 11,500 for fiscal year 2022;
                          (v) 11,000 for fiscal year 2023;
                          (vi) 10,000 for fiscal year 2024;
                          (vii) 9,000 for fiscal year 2025;
                          (viii) 8,000 for fiscal year 2026;
                          (ix) 7,000 for fiscal year 2027;
                          (x) 6,000 for fiscal year 2028;
                          (xi) 5,000 for fiscal year 2029; and
                          (xii) 1,000 for the first quarter of 
                        fiscal year 2030.
                  (C) Reports regarding the percentage of 
                united states workers.--
                          (i) By governor.--Not later than 60 
                        days before the end of each calendar 
                        year, the Governor shall submit a 
                        report to the Secretary that identifies 
                        the ratio between United States workers 
                        and other workers in the Commonwealth's 
                        workforce based on income tax filings 
                        with the Commonwealth for the tax year.
                          (ii) By gao.--Not later than December 
                        31, 2019, and biennially thereafter, 
                        the Comptroller General of the United 
                        States shall submit a report to the 
                        Chair and Ranking Member of the 
                        Committee on Energy and Natural 
                        Resources of the Senate, the Chair and 
                        Ranking Member of the Committee on 
                        Natural Resources of the House of 
                        Representatives, the Chair and Ranking 
                        Member of the Committee on Health, 
                        Education, Labor, and Pensions of the 
                        Senate and the Chair and Ranking Member 
                        of the Committee on Education and the 
                        Workforce of the House of 
                        Representatives that identifies the 
                        ratio between United States workers and 
                        other workers in the Commonwealth's 
                        workforce during each of the previous 5 
                        calendar years.
                  (D) Petition; issuance of permits.--
                          (i) Submission.--A prospective 
                        employer may submit a petition for a 
                        permit under this paragraph not earlier 
                        than--
                                  (I) 120 days before the date 
                                on which the prospective 
                                employer needs the 
                                beneficiary's services; or
                                  (II) if the petition is for 
                                the renewal of an existing 
                                permit, not earlier than 180 
                                days before the expiration of 
                                such permit.
                          (ii) Employment verification.--The 
                        Secretary shall establish a system for 
                        each employer of a Commonwealth Only 
                        Transitional Worker to submit a 
                        semiannual report to the Secretary and 
                        the Secretary of Labor that provides 
                        evidence to verify the continuing 
                        employment and payment of such worker 
                        under the terms and conditions set 
                        forth in the permit petition that the 
                        employer filed on behalf of such 
                        worker.
                          (iii) Revocation.--
                                  (I) In general.--The 
                                Secretary, in the Secretary's 
                                discretion, may revoke a permit 
                                approved under this paragraph 
                                for good cause, including if--
                                          (aa) the employer 
                                        fails to maintain the 
                                        continuous employment 
                                        of the subject worker, 
                                        fails to pay the 
                                        subject worker, fails 
                                        to timely file a 
                                        semiannual report 
                                        required under this 
                                        paragraph, or commits 
                                        any other violation of 
                                        the terms and 
                                        conditions of 
                                        employment;
                                          (bb) the beneficiary 
                                        of such petition does 
                                        not apply for admission 
                                        to the Commonwealth by 
                                        the date that is 10 
                                        days after the period 
                                        of petition validity 
                                        begins, if the employer 
                                        has requested consular 
                                        processing; or
                                          (cc) the employer 
                                        fails to provide a 
                                        former, current, or 
                                        prospective 
                                        Commonwealth Only 
                                        Transitional Worker, 
                                        not later than 21 
                                        business days after 
                                        receiving a written 
                                        request from such 
                                        worker, with the 
                                        original (or a 
                                        certified copy of the 
                                        original) of all 
                                        petitions, notices, and 
                                        other written 
                                        communication related 
                                        to the worker (other 
                                        than sensitive 
                                        financial or 
                                        proprietary information 
                                        of the employer, which 
                                        may be redacted) that 
                                        has been exchanged 
                                        between the employer 
                                        and the Department of 
                                        Labor, the Department 
                                        of Homeland Security, 
                                        or any other Federal 
                                        agency or department.
                                  (II) Reallocation of revoked 
                                petition.--Notwithstanding 
                                subparagraph (C), for each 
                                permit revoked under subclause 
                                (I) in a fiscal year, an 
                                additional permit shall be made 
                                available for use in the 
                                subsequent fiscal year.
                          (iv) Legitimate business.--
                                  (I) In general.--A permit may 
                                not be approved for a 
                                prospective employer that is 
                                not a legitimate business.
                                  (II) Defined term.--In this 
                                clause, the term `legitimate 
                                business' means a real, active, 
                                and operating commercial or 
                                entrepreneurial undertaking 
                                that the Secretary, in the 
                                Secretary's sole discretion, 
                                determines--
                                          (aa) produces 
                                        services or goods for 
                                        profit, or is a 
                                        governmental, 
                                        charitable, or other 
                                        validly recognized 
                                        nonprofit entity;
                                          (bb) meets applicable 
                                        legal requirements for 
                                        doing business in the 
                                        Commonwealth;
                                          (cc) has 
                                        substantially complied 
                                        with wage and hour 
                                        laws, occupational 
                                        safety and health 
                                        requirements, and all 
                                        other Federal and 
                                        Commonwealth 
                                        requirements related to 
                                        employment during the 
                                        preceding 5 years;
                                          (dd) does not 
                                        directly or indirectly 
                                        engage in prostitution, 
                                        human trafficking, or 
                                        any other activity that 
                                        is illegal under 
                                        Federal or Commonwealth 
                                        law; and
                                          (ee) is a participant 
                                        in good standing in the 
                                        E Verify program.
                          (v) Construction occupations.--A 
                        permit for Construction and Extraction 
                        Occupations (as defined by the 
                        Department of Labor as Standard 
                        Occupational Classification Group 47-
                        0000) may not be issued for any worker 
                        other than a worker described in 
                        paragraph (7)(B).
          [(3)] (4) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall 
        set the conditions for admission of such an alien under 
        the transition program, and the Secretary of State 
        shall authorize the issuance of nonimmigrant visas for 
        such an alien. Such a visa shall not be valid for 
        admission to the United States, as defined in section 
        101(a)(38) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
        U.S.C. 1101(a)(38)), except admission to the 
        Commonwealth or to Guam for the purpose of transit 
        only. An alien admitted to the Commonwealth on the 
        basis of such a visa shall be permitted to engage in 
        employment only as authorized pursuant to the 
        transition program.
          [(4)] (5) Such an alien shall be permitted to 
        transfer between employers in the Commonwealth during 
        the period of such alien's authorized stay therein, 
        without permission of the employee's current or prior 
        employer, within the alien's occupational category or 
        another occupational category the Secretary of Homeland 
        Security has found requires alien workers to supplement 
        the resident workforce. Approval of a petition filed by 
        the new employer with a start date within the same 
        fiscal year as the current permit shall not count 
        against the numerical limitation for that period.
          [(5)] (6) The Secretary of Homeland Security may 
        authorize the admission of a spouse or minor child 
        accompanying or following to join a worker admitted 
        pursuant to this subsection.
          (7) Requirement to remain outside of the united 
        states.--
                  (A) In general.--Except as provided in 
                subparagraph (B)--
                          (i) a permit for a Commonwealth Only 
                        Transitional Worker--
                                  (I) shall remain valid for a 
                                period that may not exceed 1 
                                year; and
                                  (II) may be renewed for not 
                                more than 2 consecutive, 1-year 
                                periods; and
                          (ii) at the expiration of the second 
                        renewal period, an alien may not again 
                        be eligible for such a permit until 
                        after the alien has remained outside of 
                        the United States for a continuous 
                        period of at least 30 days.
                  (B) Long-term workers.--An alien who was 
                admitted to the Commonwealth as a Commonwealth 
                Only Transitional Worker during fiscal year 
                2015, and during every subsequent fiscal year 
                beginning before the date of the enactment of 
                the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce 
                Act, may receive a permit for a Commonwealth 
                Only Transitional Worker that is valid for a 
                period that may not exceed 3 years and may be 
                renewed for additional 3-year periods during 
                the transition period. A permit issued under 
                this subparagraph shall be counted toward the 
                numerical cap for each fiscal year within the 
                period of petition validity.
    (e) Persons Lawfully Admitted Under the Commonwealth 
Immigration Law.--
          (1) Prohibition on removal.--
                  (A) In General.--Subject to subparagraph (B), 
                no alien who is lawfully present in the 
                Commonwealth pursuant to the immigration laws 
                of the Commonwealth on the transition program 
                effective date shall be removed from the United 
                States on the grounds that such alien's 
                presence in the Commonwealth is in violation of 
                section 212(a)(6)(A) of the Immigration and 
                Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(A)), until 
                the earlier of the date--
                          (i) of the completion of the period 
                        of the alien's admission under the 
                        immigration laws of the Commonwealth; 
                        or
                          (ii) that is 2 years after the 
                        transition program effective date.
                  (B) Limitations.-- Nothing in this subsection 
                shall be construed to prevent or limit the 
                removal under subparagraph 212(a)(6)(A) of the 
                Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
                1182(a)(6)(A)) of such an alien at any time, if 
                the alien entered the Commonwealth after May 8, 
                2008, and the Secretary of Homeland Security 
                has determined that the Government of the 
                Commonwealth has violated section 702(i) of the 
                Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008.
          (2) Employment authorization.--An alien who is 
        lawfully present and authorized to be employed in the 
        Commonwealth pursuant to the immigration laws of the 
        Commonwealth on the transition program effective date 
        shall be considered authorized by the Secretary of 
        Homeland Security to be employed in the Commonwealth 
        until the earlier of the date--
                  (A) of expiration of the alien's employment 
                authorization under the immigration laws of the 
                Commonwealth; or
                  (B) that is 2 years after the transition 
                program effective date.
          (3) Registration.--The Secretary of Homeland Security 
        may require any alien present in the Commonwealth on or 
        after the transition period effective date to register 
        with the Secretary in such a manner, and according to 
        such schedule, as he may in his discretion require. 
        Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall not 
        apply to any alien who fails to comply with such 
        registration requirement. Notwithstanding any other 
        law, the Government of the Commonwealth shall provide 
        to the Secretary all Commonwealth immigration records 
        or other information that the Secretary deems necessary 
        to assist the implementation of this paragraph or other 
        provisions of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 
        2008. Nothing in this paragraph shall modify or limit 
        section 262 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
        U.S.C. 1302) or other provision of the Immigration and 
        Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) relating to the 
        registration of aliens.
          (4) Removable aliens.--Except as specifically 
        provided in paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection, 
        nothing in this subsection shall prohibit or limit the 
        removal of any alien who is removable under the 
        Immigration and Nationality Act.
          (5) Prior orders of removal.--The Secretary of 
        Homeland Security may execute any administratively 
        final order of exclusion, deportation or removal issued 
        under authority of the immigration laws of the United 
        States before, on, or after the transition period 
        effective date, or under authority of the immigration 
        laws of the Commonwealth before the transition period 
        effective date, upon any subject of such order found in 
        the Commonwealth on or after the transition period 
        effective date, regardless whether the alien has 
        previously been removed from the United States or the 
        Commonwealth pursuant to such order.
    (f) Effect on Other Laws.--The provisions of this section 
and of the immigration laws, as defined in section 101(a)(17) 
of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(17)), 
shall, on the transition program effective date, supersede and 
replace all laws, provisions, or programs of the Commonwealth 
relating to the admission of aliens and the removal of aliens 
from the Commonwealth.
    (g) Accrual of Time for Purposes of Section 212(A)(9)(B) of 
the Immigration and Nationality Act.-- No time that an alien is 
present in the Commonwealth in violation of the immigration 
laws of the Commonwealth shall be counted for purposes of 
inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration 
and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(9)(B)).
    (h) Report on Nonresident Guestworker Population.--The 
Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary 
of Homeland Security, and the Governor of the Commonwealth, 
shall report to the Congress not later than 2 years after May 
8, 2008. The report shall include--
          (1) the number of aliens residing in the 
        Commonwealth;
          (2) a description of the legal status (under Federal 
        law) of such aliens;
          (3) the number of years each alien has been residing 
        in the Commonwealth;
          (4) the current and future requirements of the 
        Commonwealth economy for an alien workforce; and (5) 
        such recommendations to the Congress, as the Secretary 
        may deem appropriate, related to whether or not the 
        Congress should consider permitting lawfully admitted 
        guest workers lawfully residing in the Commonwealth on 
        May 8, 2008, to apply for long-term status under the 
        immigration and nationality laws of the United States.
                          (i) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Commonwealth.--The term `Commonwealth' means the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
          (2) Commonwealth Only Transition Worker.--The term 
        `Commonwealth Only Transition Worker' means an alien 
        who has been admitted into the Commonwealth under the 
        transition program and is eligible for a permit under 
        subsection (d)(3).
          (3) Governor.--The term `Governor' means the Governor 
        of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
          (4) Secretary.--The term `Secretary' means the 
        Secretary of Homeland Security.
          (5) Tax year.--The term `tax year' means the fiscal 
        year immediately preceding the current fiscal year.
          (6) United states worker.--The term `United States 
        worker' means any worker who is--
                  (A) a citizen or national of the United 
                States;
                  (B) an alien who has been lawfully admitted 
                for permanent residence; or
                  (C) a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall 
                Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or 
                the Republic of Palau (known collectively as 
                the `Freely Associated States') who has been 
                lawfully admitted to the United States pursuant 
                to--
                          (i) section 141 of the Compact of 
                        Free Association between the Government 
                        of the United States and the 
                        Governments of the Marshall Islands and 
                        the Federated States of Micronesia (48 
                        U.S.C. 1921 note); or
                          (ii) section 141 of the Compact of 
                        Free Association between the United 
                        States and the Government of Palau (48 
                        U.S.C. 1931 note).

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