The Government of Jamaica is looking to expand the overseas employment programmes by increasing the number of workers employed and the eligible categories of workers, and extending the programme to new countries.
"We are particularly aware of the increased potential in Canada for placing Jamaican workers in the marketplace, particularly in the western provinces, where an economic boom is underway in several key industries, including mining, construction and hospitality,” said Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Arnaldo Brown.
He was making his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate on July 10, in the House of Representatives.
The State Minister said it is recognised by the Canadian authorities that the need for workers cannot be adequately met internally, given the slowdown in growth and the ageing of the country’s population.
"The demand occurs mainly for drivers, heavy equipment operators, mechanics, hospitality workers for hotels and the food industry, and licensed practical nurses,” he informed.
The State Minister noted that over the years, Jamaican workers have earned an excellent reputation in the United States of America (USA), Canada and Japan for hard work and dedication, “and so the quality of our workforce sells itself."
"This is a tribute to our culture and education and augurs well for the receptivity of temporary Jamaican workers in these and other jurisdictions,” Mr. Brown said.
He told the House that the Government is actively exploring opportunities for Jamaicans to be employed in China as English teachers, given the demand that exists in the Asian country for this skill.
He also informed that the Japan Education and Teaching (JET) Programme has been highly successful and the Government will seek to structure appropriate arrangements with other countries to provide opportunities for employment and exposure for young people as teachers of English.
Since the 1960s, the Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, has had an arrangement in place with employers in the USA, to supply agricultural workers and, in more recent years, hospitality workers.
There have also been agreements with Canada since the 1960s for the provision of seasonal agricultural workers. In addition, there have been programmes for the supply of semi-skilled and low-skilled, non-agricultural workers.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter