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Minister of Labour and Social Security Hon. Pearnel Charles, met with 78 private recruitment agencies on Thursday (May 14), to inform them of recent amendments to the Regulations of the United States Departments of Labour and Homeland Security to guide the placement of overseas workers recruited privately.
The US Department of Labour and Department of Homeland Security have published new rules, and emphasised existing ones that will regulate the administration of temporary employment of H-2B workers in the US. H-2B workers are temporary non-agricultural workers.
Under the regulations, recruiters are not to pass on expenses to participants. Instead, the employers should absorb the cost of recruiting and obtaining these workers.
At the meeting, held at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Mr. Charles also pointed out that the job market overseas has changed, and that Jamaicans will have to be proactive in order to maintain competitiveness. He insisted that if recruiters failed to observe the US regulations, licences issued by the Ministry would be revoked.
Minister of State in the Ministry, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, told the employers that, while the rules may pose challenges, there are real opportunities to be gained if they follow them. He further noted that there is need for continued dialogue, so that the Ministry can provide the necessary support.
In recognising the role of the private employment agencies, Mr. Charles said they have been making an invaluable contribution to the country, by facilitating the employment of hundreds of Jamaican workers. He, however, charged that unscrupulous recruiters were preying on unsuspecting Jamaicans and this must stop.
A committee, comprising representatives of the recruiting agencies and Ministry officials, has been set up to formulate plans to ensure full compliance with the revised regulations. Six weeks ago, the Ministry held talks with members of the United States Department of Labour and Department of Homeland Security to discuss the new regulations.