KINGSTON, Jamaica CMC – The Jamaica government says, it will be unrelenting in its efforts to ensure that work permits will be issued, based on the guidelines that govern the system.
Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier said, in issuing work permits to foreigners, priority will be given to the protection of Jamaican workers and will only be issued in cases where they are absolutely necessary.
“The Ministry administers a rigorous work permit regime, with priority given to the protection of employment of Jamaican workers. But I venture to say, that when gaps arise in the availability of local skills for foreign investment initiatives, if we are not to frustrate the progress of these projects then such skill gaps will have to be filled by workers from elsewhere,” Kellier said.
He noted further, that the government recognizes that the best way to ensure Jamaican workers are given priority treatment during the employment of workers, is to create the necessary platforms for high level training for these workers.
He said, that his Ministry is in dialogue with a number of training agencies, with a view of ensuring that Jamaican workers receive the highest level training, which will ensure that they are equipped for employment.
“We are also working closely with HEART/NTA and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) to identify the skills that are needed and to train our workforce…ready for employment in investment projects,” Kellier said.
Meanwhile, on the matter of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Workers Passport initiative, Kellier, in admitting that the legislation to implement the workers passport is yet to be passed in Parliament, said, the Melia Braco Village site would be a good place to start.
“These passports will be the first step in guaranteeing that workers are competent and equipped to operate safely on work sites in both international and local markets. And while I know that this initiative is still in the early stages of development and the legislation is pending….our team will be working assiduously with Melia to explore the possibility of incorporating the workers’ passports as a pilot on this Braco site by the contractors,” he stated.