USCIS Accepting Petitions Under the CNMI Disaster Recovery Workforce Act

USCIS is accepting CW-1 petitions filed under the Disaster Recovery Act. If you want us to consider your case under the Disaster Recovery Act, you should submit Form I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker, along with a cover sheet stating “CNMI Disaster Recovery Workforce Act Eligible” in large, bold letters, and evidence to show that a worker:

  • Is performing service or labor under a contract or subcontract for construction, repairs, renovations or facility services directly connected to, or associated with recovery from a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. section 5122)); or
  • Is performing service or labor under a contract or subcontract for construction, repairs, renovations or facility services directly connected to preparation for a future disaster or emergency.

Prospective employers may only petition under the Disaster Recovery Act for CW-1 construction workers who are nationals of a country designated as eligible to participate in the H-2B visa program during calendar year 2018, as identified in the Federal Register notice (PDF) .

The general prohibition against CW-1 construction workers and its exception for workers who have maintained CW-1 status since before Oct. 1, 2015, continue to apply for CW-1 petitions that are not eligible under the Disaster Recovery Act.

In the coming weeks, we will announce additional guidance for petitions filed under the Disaster Recovery Act. Until then, CW-1 petitioners should continue to follow all other current USCIS regulations and procedures as applicable for CW-1 workers, including that all CW-1 filings must include an approved temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Background Information

The recent Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 established the CNMI Disaster Recovery Workforce Act (Disaster Recovery Act), Pub. L. 116-94, Title IX. Effective immediately, the Disaster Recovery Act increases the CW-1 cap by 3,000 for fiscal years 2020, 2021 and 2022 for construction and extraction occupations for certain aliens performing service or labor directly connected to, or associated with recovery from a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency, or for preparation for a future disaster or emergency.

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