Imperial Pacific seeks more worker visas

Casino operator Imperial Pacific International Holdings is asking the US government to ease the visa cap for overseas workers in order to support its future casino.

Mark Brown, chief executive of Imperial Pacific in an interview with EJ Insight, said the cap of 12,999 workers for the transitional commonwealth-only worker-1 (or CW-1) program was reached in May this year. They are now trying to have that lifted to 20,000.

“We have 3,000 employees for our first building and we are going to have as many as 15,000 employees in future,” said Brown.

Brown said his firm hired many contract workers from the Philippines as they were more experienced in Macau-style VIP gaming than those from Las Vegas.

Under the current law, the number of workers under the CW-1 program will be decreased every year until it reaches zero by the end of 2019. However, employers and workers have been urging authorities to raise the cap and extend the program beyond 2019.

Imperial Pacific’s $7.1 billion casino resort’s first phase will open on Chinese New Year in 2017. Its casino will include 250 gaming tables and 450 slot machines. A 374-suite hotel will open three months later.

A second phase, to start construction in 2018 and 2019, will include 1,200 hotel rooms, multiple shopping facilities and a convention center, said Brown.