Text: H.R.5956 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 115-218 (07/24/2018)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 218]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 132 STAT. 1547]]

Public Law 115-218
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
 To incentivize the hiring of United States workers in the Commonwealth 
 of the Northern Mariana Islands, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: July 
                       24, 2018 -  [H.R. 5956]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Northern Mariana 
Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018. 48 USC 1801 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Northern Mariana Islands U.S. 
Workforce Act of 2018''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 48 USC 1806 note.>>  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

[[Page 132 STAT. 1548]]

                      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. <<NOTE: Time 
                      period.>>  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 requested.
                          ``(ii) <<NOTE: Effective date. Notice. Federal 
                      Register, publication.>>  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 one or more 
                                nonimmigrant workers, a $50 fraud 
                                prevention and detection fee; and
                                    ``(II) shall deposit and use the 
                                fees collected under subclause (I) for 
                                the sole purpose of preventing and 
                                detecting immigration benefit fraud in 
                                the Northern Mariana Islands, in 
                                accordance with section 286(v)(2)(B) of 
                                the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
                                U.S.C. 1356(v)(2)(B)).
                    ``(B) <<NOTE: Deadlines. Effective date.>>  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) <<NOTE: Reports.>>  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.

[[Page 132 STAT. 1549]]

                    ``(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) <<NOTE: Effective date.>>  In general.--
                      Beginning with petitions filed with employment 
                      start dates 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) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  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

[[Page 132 STAT. 1550]]

                      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) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  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

[[Page 132 STAT. 1551]]

                      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) <<NOTE: Time periods.>>  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) <<NOTE: Reports.>>  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) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  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, commits any 
                                        other violation of the terms and 
                                        conditions of employment, or 
                                        otherwise ceases to operate as a 
                                        legitimate business (as defined 
                                        in clause (iv)(II));
                                            ``(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

[[Page 132 STAT. 1552]]

                                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, Commonwealth, and 
                                        local requirements related to 
                                        employment during the preceding 
                                        5 years;
                                            ``(dd) does not directly or 
                                        indirectly engage in, or 
                                        knowingly benefit from, 
                                        prostitution, human trafficking, 
                                        or any other activity that is 
                                        illegal under Federal, 
                                        Commonwealth, or local law;
                                            ``(ee) is a participant in 
                                        good standing in the E-Verify 
                                        program;
                                            ``(ff) does not have, as an 
                                        owner, investor, manager, 
                                        operator, or person meaningfully 
                                        involved with the undertaking, 
                                        any individual who has been the 
                                        owner, investor, manager, 
                                        operator, or otherwise 
                                        meaningfully involved with an 
                                        undertaking that does not comply 
                                        with item (cc) or (dd), or is 
                                        the agent of such an individual; 
                                        and
                                            ``(gg) is not a successor in 
                                        interest to an undertaking that 
                                        does not comply with item (cc) 
                                        or (dd).
                          ``(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) <<NOTE: Time periods.>>  Requirement to remain outside 
        of the united states.--

[[Page 132 STAT. 1553]]

                    ``(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 two 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 prior to the submission 
                      of a renewal petition on their behalf.
                    ``(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 of 2018, 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).''.

[[Page 132 STAT. 1554]]

    (b) <<NOTE: Federal Register, publication. Deadlines. 48 USC 1806 
note.>>  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) <<NOTE: Deadlines. Reports. 48 USC 1807 note.>>  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) <<NOTE: Deadline. 48 USC 1806 note.>>  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.

    (e) <<NOTE: 48 USC 1806 note.>>  Effective Date.--
            (1) In general.--Except as specifically otherwise provided, 
        this Act and the amendments made by this Act--

[[Page 132 STAT. 1555]]

                    (A) shall take effect on the date of the enactment 
                of this Act; and
                    (B) <<NOTE: Applicability.>>  shall apply to 
                petitions for Commonwealth Only Transitional Workers 
                filed on or after such date.
            (2) Authority of secretary of homeland security.--The 
        Secretary of Homeland Security, in the Secretary's discretion, 
        may delay the effective date of any provision of this Act 
        relating to Commonwealth Only Transition Workers until the 
        effective date of the interim final rule described in subsection 
        (b), except for provisions providing annual numerical caps for 
        such workers.

    Approved July 24, 2018.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 5956:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
            June 5, considered and passed House.
            June 28, considered and passed Senate.

                                  <all>