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Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn has said that many Jamaicans who have applied for CARICOM Skills Certificates have not expressed an intention to move immediately to another member state, but were preparing themselves for any opportunities that may arise.
He made the observation in his address at the Jamaica National Building Society’s Staff Awards Ceremony, which was recently held at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
Senator Franklyn pointed out that the persons granted certificates so far in Jamaica were mainly in the managerial, education, science-related, and health fields. Most of these applicants were in the 31-40 age group.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) has already issued 680 CARICOM Skills Certificates to eligible CARICOM nationals.
“The certificates issued to the Jamaicans are to facilitate their application for entry and work in other member states. Musicians, artistes and sports persons have traditionally dominated the labour mobility from Jamaica to the rest of the region and there is likely to be an increase of these groups from Jamaica,” he explained.
Highlighting the CARICOM Agreement on Social Security, he stated that measures were also in place to allow for social security benefits to be transferred from one country to the next if an individual so qualified.
“Pensions will be paid by the authority of the country in which you qualify for benefits and the survivor’s benefits and death grants will be forwarded to the relevant persons irrespective of the member state in which one resides,” he said.
The MLSS has been charged with administering the CARICOM Agreement on Social Security in Jamaica. The agreement seeks to protect entitlements to long-term benefits.
He informed that only a third of persons of pensionable age in Jamaica now qualify to receive pensions from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) owing to the fact that a large number of persons were operating in the informal sector with very limited or no participation in social security schemes.
“Close to half of all economic activity in Jamaica is carried out in the informal sector. Therefore, if we do not provide this opportunity and extend social security coverage to operators of micro and small businesses, thousands in the informal sector will continue to become senior citizens with no social security and therefore not benefit from the CSME,” he said.