JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, has urged employment agencies, which recruit Jamaicans to work abroad, to register with the Ministry.
Mr. Charles, speaking at a recent meeting with representatives of employment agencies held at the Ministry, said that these agencies are to come under increased regulation. “We have to set a standard as to how we’re going to do it (regulation).
We want everybody, who is involved or engaged in recruiting people, particularly for overseas employment, to be registered with the Ministry of Labour,” he stated.
According to the Minister, there will be some new amendments to the Employment Agencies Regulation Act to increase fees and penalties for violations and to further provide for the proper administration of employment agencies.
He noted that the Ministry is not in any haste to make non-registration a violation, but instead, wanted to encourage greater cooperation between the employment agencies and Government. This, he said, was at the instruction of the Prime Minister, who wanted a collaborative approach in solving the problems of employment within the country.
“I’m in a haste to work with you and [to] ask you to work with me so that we are on the same page,” Minister Charles said, adding that, “this Government wants you to cooperate with us, to work with us; we want to see a change and the change must begin with us here”.
In highlighting concerns, the Minister said that some of the private recruiters had violated the terms of their licence by soliciting at locations already being utilized by the Government programme. “You’re recruiting workers that we have recruited already and that’s not right,” he said.
He pointed out further that housing offered to workers is often below standard and sometimes, the terms of agreement between the agencies and the worker is different from that which the worker receives upon arrival overseas.
The Employment Agencies Regulation Act was formed in 1957 and governs the activities of employment agencies in Jamaica. However, this legislation does not apply to an employment agency or registry conducted by or under the direction of the Minister.
There are 35 employment agencies licensed to place persons in employment overseas, and 44 agencies licensed for local placement.

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