Labour Ministry to pull plug on wide-scale issuance of work permits
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Karl Samuda, has given the clearest indication that changes will be made to the granting of work permits by the ministry.
Speaking during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the ministry through its Labour Market Information System (LMIS) and the University of Technology (UTech) at the ministry's North Street office in Kingston on Friday, Samuda said he will be safeguarding the jobs available in the Jamaican labour force for Jamaicans.
"We should not be importing labour to do things here when we have the skills available in Jamaica. Instead, we should be exporting labour, we should be providing skills appropriate to meet the (needs of the) international world," said Samuda.
It is against that background that he said that the issuing of work permits by the ministry, will not be business as usual,and changes are already being made to intensify the process by which the applications for permits are being assessed prior to him granting approval.
"The business of handing out work permits will not be an automatic system. It will be carefully examined to determine if the job that is being requested can be filled here in Jamaica," said the minister.
He lamented in many cases, "We are being flooded with applications for work permits for jobs that I am certain that the University of Technology is training Jamaicans to do,” saying instead, “What we need to do is accelerate the pace at which we train young people to fill vacancies that exist in Jamaica".
He concluded that "We can't on one hand be spending a fortune to educate our people for them to enter the workforce,and the other hand, accelerating the pace at which we provide work permits,"
The university’s President, Professor Colin Gyles, endorsed the MOU as a step in the right direction.