IPI won’t meet deadline with current worker shortage

Imperial Pacific’s vice president for construction is concerned the company will not be able to meet the deadline to complete the casino and hotel project with their limited number of construction workers.

The company currently only has 253 construction workers -with the ideal number of workers being around 1,000, according to IPI’s Eric Poon.

“At least we need over 1,000 people to meet the schedule. Right now, we’re far below [the number of workers] on what we’re expecting to see at the job site right now,” said Poon.

Last year, most of IPI’s H-2B workers were from the Philippines. However, earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security removed the Philippines from the list of eligible countries, slashing IPI’s construction workforce significantly.

During a monthly meeting with the commissioners of the Commonwealth Casino Commission, Poon said he has sent teams to recruit construction workers in Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Mongolia and other countries eligible for the H-2B program.

He said he expects close to 200 workers from Taiwan to report for work next month.

In the meantime, however, the shortage of workers “seriously impacts the current progress,” said Poon.

“As of today, 253, we cannot meet our deadline based on what we have now,” he said.