JIS News

Employers have been given 10 days to report all illegal foreign workers in their employ to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, or face sanctions. “We are saying to the employers of these foreigners that you are liable under the Jamaican law to a fine or imprisonment, or a fine and imprisonment. You have two weeks to come in and declare and have regularized all these foreigners employed in your establishment or your home,” said Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles.
Mr. Charles, who was speaking at a post-Cabinet press briefing held today (Oct. 30) at Jamaica House, told journalists that the measure is an extension of the 10-day amnesty that was issued some two weeks ago, for illegal workers to regularize their status.
He said that while more than 100 applications for work permits were received during the period, he was not satisfied with the level of response.
“We have received more calls from Jamaicans advising us where foreigners are working than from foreigners advising us that they would like to stay here and work,” he stated, “so we will be extending the amnesty for 10 working days to employers of these foreign nationals, for them to come into the Ministry of Labour.”
He noted that employers and their illegal employees could face fine and imprisonment under the Foreign National and Commonwealth Citizens Act.
Under this Act, employers, who hire foreign nationals without a work permit, can face six months imprisonment or a $200 fine. Mr. Charles noted however that this Act will be amended to increase fines for breaches to $500,000 or six months imprisonment.
In the meantime, the Labour Minister said that the Ministry will establish a hotline for persons, who want to call and have their stay regularized. He reiterated that the government will not seek foreign workers for jobs that Jamaicans can do. “It should be known that the Government of Jamaica will protect the jobs in Jamaica on behalf of the Jamaican people,” he stated.

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