Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saipan Real Estate 101

There is a huge difference in the ends of the housing spectrum in Saipan. We're not sure if this is due to lack of pride in ownership. (Currently land can only be owned by descendants of the Northern Mariana Islands - Chomorro or Carolinian - this is only about 22 percent of the population.)  Or if a large part of the problem is due to the immigration of foreign contract labor workers under the previous Commonwealth Northern Mariana Island immigration laws. These people can't own the land and cannot afford decent housing so often live in makeshift barracks - made from shipping containers and tin roofed, dirt floored shacks.  Minimum wage in Saipan is around $4.50/hour. The reason Isra is working here is because of the Federalization of the immigration laws. This means that the federal immigration laws are now being applied and will hopefully eliminate the problems that come from human trafficking. Here's one link for more info on the problems created under the old laws. Sorry for this reality check! We'll have more upbeat news next time.

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